Македонски Shqip English

Andrey Hursevich

Competence of the Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Belarus in the sphere of declaring persons on the international wanted list and extradition

Annotation: the article studies the procedure of declaring by the Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Belarus on the international wanted list of persons who have committed crimes; provides the information regarding the treaty base of the Republic of Belarus in the field of extradition; examines the questions of sending by the Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Belarus the request for the extradition of a wanted persons to the central authority of a foreign state, competent in extradition matters; describes how the Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Belarus considers the legal issues regarding detention and arrest in the territory of Belarus of a person who is on the international wanted list for the purpose of extradition to the foreign country.

 

Keywords: criminal prosecution, extradition, international wanted list, Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Belarus, the principle of reciprocity, treaty on extradition.

 

In accordance with the Belarusian legislation, the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Belarus participates in the declaring on the international wanted list of persons who have committed crimes and hide from the bodies of preliminary investigation or from the court. To this end, the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Belarus examines the documents and criminal cases in relation to these persons and then decides whether there are grounds for declaring those accused or convicted on international wanted list. If there are such grounds, the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Belarus orders the Interpol National Central Bureau of the Republic of Belarus to send through Interpol channels a request to locate, detain and arrest the wanted person before receiving the request for extradition.

It should be noted that, in accordance with the Belarusian legislation, legal relations in the field of extradition are the exclusive competence of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Belarus. Legal cooperation of the Republic of Belarus in the field of extradition is based on international treaties, and in case of their absence, on the principle of reciprocity.

The treaty base of the Republic of Belarus in the field of extradition consists of bilateral treaties on extradition, concluded with Bulgaria, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, India, China, Vietnam, Cuba, Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Cyprus and Egypt. The Republic of Belarus is also a party to the Convention on Legal Assistance and Legal Relations in Civil, Family and Criminal Matters, signed on January 22, 1993 in Minsk (hereinafter - the Minsk Convention) and the Convention on Legal Assistance and Legal Relations in Civil, Family and Criminal Matters, signed on October 7, 2002 (hereinafter - Chisinau Convention). The Minsk and Chisinau conventions are widely used by the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Belarus as legal instruments for the extradition of persons hiding in the territories of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine.

In addition, the Republic of Belarus is a state party to the UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of December 12, 1988, the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism of December 9, 1999, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime of November 15, 2000, UN Convention against Corruption of October 31, 2003, and the Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption of January 27, 1999. These conventions may also be the legal basis for extradition, when there is no agreement on extradition, and the legislation of a state determines the possibility of extradition by the existence of such an agreement.

In the event that a person who is on the international wanted list is detained in the territory of a foreign state for the purpose of extradition to Belarus, the law-enforcement authorities of the foreign state inform through the Interpol channels the Interpol National Central Bureau of the Republic of Belarus about this. In turn, the Interpol National Central Bureau of the Republic of Belarus notifies the Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Belarus about this. Further, the Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Belarus sends a request to the authority conducting the criminal proceedings to prepare a package of documents necessary for the extradition of the wanted person to Belarus. The list of these documents, as well as the requirements for their content, are determined by the existing international treaties of the Republic of Belarus in the field of extradition and the Criminal Procedure Code of the Republic of Belarus. Depending on the presence or absence of an international treaty, the request for extradition is prepared by the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Belarus or by the authority handling the criminal case against the wanted person. After examining the documents received, the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Belarus decides whether to send or not through diplomatic channels and (or) other channels a request for the extradition of a wanted person to the central authority of a foreign state, competent in extradition matters (as a rule, these are the Prosecutor’s Office or the Ministry of Justice).

As for the detention in the territory of Belarus of a person who is on the international wanted list for the purpose of extradition to the foreign country, the following should be noted. The detention and arrest of a person who is on the international wanted list are regulated by the Criminal Procedure Code of the Republic of Belarus. Detention is made, as a rule, by the Belarusian police. A police officer explains to the detained person his or her rights and obligations. Further, the wanted person detained by the police is delivered to the district prosecutor, who conducts a thorough check of a set of issues related to extradition. First of all, this is a question of the lack of Belarusian citizenship of a detained person, since according to the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus a citizen of Belarus cannot be extradited to a foreign state, unless otherwise provided by international treaties. Other circumstances that may exclude the extradition of a person are also checked by the district prosecutor at the same time. In the absence of such circumstances, arrest shall be applied to a person who is on the international wanted list. The district prosecutor notifies that the person has been arrested the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Belarus, the Interpol National Central Bureau of the Republic of Belarus and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, as well as relatives of the persecuted person if they live in the Republic of Belarus. In turn, the Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Belarus through diplomatic channels and through the Interpol National Central Bureau of the Republic of Belarus informs the central authority of a foreign state, competent in extradition matters, about the need to submit a request for extradition within an established time period for the person who is on the international wanted list. If a request for extradition with the necessary documents is not received within the time specified by the Criminal Procedure Code of the Republic of Belarus or by international treaty of the Republic of Belarus, the Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Belarus instructs the subordinate district or regional prosecutor to release the wanted person and after the execution of the order informs the central authority of a foreign state, competent in extradition matters, about this.

If the request for extradition is received in a timely manner from central authority of a foreign state, competent in extradition matters, then the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Belarus is studying the possibility of granting the request for the extradition of an internationally wanted person to a foreign state. Requirements for the request for extradition and the documents attached to it are determined by an international treaty regulating the issues of extradition between the Republic of Belarus and the requesting foreign state, and in the absence of a treaty - by the Criminal Procedure Code of the Republic of Belarus. Along with the general requirements for a request for extradition, an integral element of a request made on the basis of the principle of reciprocity is the obligation of the central authority of a foreign state, competent in extradition matters, given on behalf of a foreign state to provide similar international legal assistance. According to the Belarusian legislation, the extradition of a person for criminal prosecution or execution of a sentence is made for such acts which, according to the laws of a foreign state requesting extradition, and the laws of the Belarusian state considering this request, are punishable (the principle of double punishability of the wrongdoing). In addition, for the commission of this crime, respectively, the punishment is imprisonment for at least one year or more severe punishment or the person was sentenced to imprisonment for at least six months or more severe punishment. In the event that the request for extradition and the materials attached to it comply with the requirements of an international treaty or the Criminal Procedure Code of the Republic of Belarus, and there are no grounds for refusing extradition, the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus or his deputy grant the extradition requests. The competent authority of the foreign state that sent the request for extradition is informed about this. After that the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Belarus is instructed by Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Belarus to transfer the internationally wanted person to the law enforcement agency of the foreign state. If a criminal case on the territory of Belarus is being investigated with regard to the person whose extradition is requested, then the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Belarus decides to postpone his or her extradition, about what the central authority of the requesting foreign state are notified. After the cessation of criminal prosecution in the territory of the Republic of Belarus, such a person, on the instructions of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Belarus, is arrested for the purpose of extradition and transferred to a foreign state requesting extradition. If the delay in extradition may cause damage to the investigation of a crime in the territory of a foreign state, the person whose extradition is requested may be extradited temporarily (usually for three months, but the term can be extended). To this end, the competent authorities of a foreign state must send to the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Belarus a relevant request for the temporary extradition of a person for criminal prosecution. The temporarily extradited person must be returned to the Republic of Belarus after the completion of the procedural actions in the criminal case for which he was transferred to a foreign country. If the extradition of a person to a foreign state is impossible due to the fact that he or she has Belarusian citizenship, the possibility of bringing such person to criminal responsibility in the territory of the Republic of Belarus for the crime that caused the request for extradition remains (the principle “extradite or judge”). In this case, the competent authority of a foreign state should send to the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Belarus a relevant request for the criminal prosecution of this person.

 

     List of Sources:

 

  1. Convention on Legal Assistance and Legal Relations in Civil, Family and Criminal Matters, signed on January 22, 1993.
  2. Convention on Legal Assistance and Legal Relations in Civil, Family and Criminal Matters, signed on October 7, 2002.
  3. Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption of January 27, 1999.
  4. Criminal Procedure Code of the Republic of Belarus.
  5. International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism of December 9, 1999.
  6. UN Convention against Corruption of October 31, 2003.
  7. UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substancesof December 12, 1988.
  8. UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime of November 15, 2000.
  9. http://www.prokuratura.gov.by/en.

 

 

Andrey Hursevich, Senior Prosecutor of the International Legal Department of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Belarus