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If a villain were to commit a murder in Norway, which has no statute of limitations for murder, but managed to evade the police and escape to another country - how would extradition work? This assumes that the villain successfully stayed under the radar, until the statute of limitations for murder in the country they escaped to expired, but they are in a country which has an extradition treaty with Norway.

As a random example: Portugal has a statute of limitations of 15 years, after which even the alleged child killer that kidnapped and murdered Madeleine McCann cannot be charged. If they escaped Norway to Portugal but stayed hidden for 15 years would they be extradited back to Norway?

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Crimes are prosecuted either where they were committed, or where the harm was intentionally caused, or both.[1] The statute of limitations that applies is the statute of limitations in the country where the crime is prosecuted. Other statutes of limitations for crimes are irrelevant.

Generally speaking, if a crime is still prosecutable in the place where it is committed and is a serious felony, an extradition treaty will require the country where the suspect is located to be extradited to the country where the crime was committed and the country where the crime was committed (in this case Norway), goes through the proper channels under the extradition treaty. (There are exceptions in death penalty cases, but neither of these countries have the death penalty.)

The statute of limitations for murder in Portugal would not protect someone who committed a murder in Norway.

Also, even if there was a statute of limitations in Norway (say it was an armed robbery not resulting in serious bodily injury instead), most countries don't count time that a suspect spends outside the country fleeing law enforcement against the statute of limitations.

[1] There is an obscure exception to this for what amount to crimes against humanity that is not applicable in the case presented by the question.

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  • I think not exactly correct. See Portugal's procedures for extradition rm.coe.int/1680089b1d It looks like there are cases where Portugal's statue of limitations could come into play. "In other words, national deadlines established for lapse of time in the Portuguese Criminal Code will only be identified and used as a cause for refusal if the relevant international instrument admits such possibility or when the request for extradition is supported only by reciprocity." Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 2:11
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    Note that some statutes of limitations get stopped from running as long as a perpetrator is not in the country.
    – Trish
    Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 14:43
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Let's say the crime was committed in Germany, the criminal is in Norway. It's up to Germany to apply for extradition or not, and up to Norway to follow the request or not.

If the statute of limitations in Norway runs out, then Norway wouldn't extradite anymore (because it wouldn't be a crime that would have been prosecuted in Norway, had it happened in Norway).

If the statute of limitations in Germany runs out, Germany wouldn't request extradition anymore. Norway would grant it, but Germany wouldn't ask for it, so no extradition.

Now in the most unlikely case that someone in Germany gets it completely wrong and asks for extradition (when the criminal cannot be convicted legally anymore in Germany), then Norway might extradite the person. Because they check their own laws, but they wouldn't look into the details of German law. And according to Norwegian law the extradition is Ok, which is all that counts to Norway.

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This is wrong. The rule of dual criminality applies. Meaning it has to be a crime in both countries. If 15 years are up then it is no longer a prosecutable offence for Portugal and therefore they will not extradite someone for something that isn’t a prosecutable in their countries law.

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    I think you are mistaken in this esample. From the web site of the National Procedures for Extradition in Portugal "In other words, national deadlines established for lapse of time in the Portuguese Criminal Code will only be identified and used as a cause for refusal if the relevant international instrument admits such possibility or when the request for extradition is supported only by reciprocity." rm.coe.int/1680089b1d Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 2:08

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