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Extradition: who art thou? Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Steve, United Kingdom Dec 25, 2007
Human Rights , Education , Peace & Conflict   Opinions



The radiation poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko which led to his horrifying death in London raised international furore with Britain and Russia as the principal actors. The genesis of the dispute can be traced to the foundation laid by British detectives that Alexander Litvinenko was murdered by toxic polonium 210 which the law enforcement officers traced to Andrei Logovoy in Russia. From this connection, Britain demanded that Andrei Logovoy be extradited by Russia for trial in Britain for murder of Alexander Litvinenko. As would be expected, given the recent relationship between the two countries, Russia flatly declined this demand. Instead, Russia requested whatever information or evidence the British authorities have should be handed to them and they would trial Andrei Logovoy under Russian law, within Russian jurisdiction.

The brief narrative of the root of the dispute in this respect between Britain and Russia may appear as a simple conflict of interests on the part of both countries. But it is a bit more intricate. Apparently, politics is a factor in this fallout by these countries. Though both countries maintain their different positions are founded on legal principles and moral justification, these principles are subtly moulded on political interests.

True, Britain can require the extradition of Andrei Logovoy from Russia. If Britain’s demand cannot be based on domestic laws of Britain, it most certainly can be based on European law which allows extradition between the two countries –and which both Britain and Russia have accented to. Under the canopy of this law, both countries could arrange extradition of offenders between themselves. Inspite of this European law, Russia has never extradited its citizens to Britain –neither has Britain extradited its own citizens to Russia for trial. And, Russia has maintained that it will not extradite Andrei Logovoy to Britain –or any other country for that matter. Britain and Russia, therefore, find themselves in a diplomatic imbroglio.

A puzzling thought that comes to mind is: why would Britain insist on such extradition when historical records show that such demand has close to no likelihood of success? Especially with the frayed relationship which currently exists between both countries? With the accusations, and counter-accusations, by government representatives on either side? To the extent that diplomats were expelled on both sides? This is a food for thought. However, one reason may be with the aim of isolating Russia. But this would serve no good to anyone. Particularly when one brings into consideration the fact that Russia’s request to the British government for the extradition of Boris Berezovsky was rebuffed by Britain. If Britain harbours and protects a person sought by the Russian government for serious crimes against his government, what moral grounds does Britain have to expect that Russian would accede to the extradition of someone Britain claims to be a criminal agent of the Russian government? Does Britain consider that the rules applicable to Russia are not applicable to it? Another reason Russia would not even consider any productive cooperation with Britain is the former’s current global posturing, which is quite diametrical opposed to that of Britain and certain other western countries. The question remains: why did Britain embark on such a journey that was doomed to fail from the onset? Does Britain imagine it has some kind of clout or weight over Russia?



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Barr. Stephen Edetanlen is a legal practitioner from Nigeria, currently living in London. He acquired his DSW, LLB and BL from Nigeria. He, also, holds an LLM in International Law from London. He has a passion for contemporary global legal issues and practising law. Many of his written online opinions can be found on his website www.steveinitiate.fusiveweb.co.uk. He likes an intercontinental life, and does not wish to confine himself to a particular country.
By the grace of God, he is a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He presently ministers to the Lord's flock in London.
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