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Review of the Office of International Affairs' Role
in the International Extradition of Fugitives

Report Number I-2002-008
March 2002



International extraditions involve two separate but similar processes.

Incoming Extradition Requests

A foreign government may request the arrest of a fugitive in the United States so an extradition hearing may be held. The process for an incoming extradition is:

Outgoing Extradition Requests

The U.S. prosecutors at the federal, state, and local level initiate outgoing extraditions. An outgoing extradition can typically involve the following steps:

These extradition steps represent the basic procedures for incoming and outgoing extradition requests. However, the order and degree to which these procedures are employed depends upon the extent to which the extradition progresses. The extent of an extradition is, in turn, affected by various factors, such as the sufficiency of the information in the extradition request and extradition treaty provisions such as dual criminality, that determine the viability of the international extradition of fugitives.


  1. Title 18, Section 3184, of the United States Code provides that an extradition magistrate can be "any justice or judge of the United States, or any magistrate authorized to do so by a court of the United States." An extradition magistrate has the jurisdiction to order the arrest of a foreign fugitive for the purpose of securing his presence for an extradition hearing before such justice, judge, or magistrate.

  2. The primary function of a writ of habeas corpus is to release a person from unlawful imprisonment. The only issue that it presents is whether the person is unlawfully deprived of his liberty. The filing of the writ does not automatically delay further extradition proceedings.

  3. An INTERPOL Red Notice is submitted by a government that is seeking the arrest of a fugitive for whom an arrest warrant has been issued, the fugitive's whereabouts are unknown, and extradition of the fugitive will be requested by the government that submitted the Red Notice.