Friday, December 27, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

India, USA sign non-surrender pact
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 26
India and the USA today signed an agreement not to extradite each other’s nationals to any international tribunal without express consent of the two countries.

The agreement, signed by Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal and US Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill in Hyderabad House here, stipulates that each country will not knowingly facilitate, consent to or cooperate with efforts by any third party or country for the extradition, surrender or transfer of each other’s nationals to any international tribunal.

This can be considered only if the two sides are otherwise obligated to do so by an international agreement to which they are parties.

Talking to reporters after signing the agreement, Mr Blackwill said: “India and the USA share the strongest possible commitment to bringing to justice those who commit war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. However, we are concerned about the International Criminal Court treaty with respect to the adequacy of checks and balances, the impact of the treaty on national sovereignty and the potential for conflict with the UN charter. This accord is emblematic of the strides that continue to be made in transforming US-India relations. Both governments look forward to working in close cooperation on such significant issues.”

The accord provides that in the absence of any express consent by either country, such persons would not be surrendered or transferred by any means to any other entity or third country or expelled to a third country unless otherwise obligated to do so.

It further stipulates that when either government extradites, surrenders or otherwise transfers its nationals to a third country, it will not agree to the surrender or transfer of that person by the third country to any international tribunal.

The agreement will enter into force after an exchange of notes, confirming that they have completed the necessary domestic legal requirements for this purpose. It will remain in force until a year after the date on which one party notifies the other of its intent to terminate the agreement.

In effect, if a third country or party demands that a person of Indian or American origin wanted for such crimes in each other’s country be tried in a multilateral court, it will not be possible unless permission is given by the respective governments or the sides are mandated to do so under any international agreement.

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