Pretend somebody committed two different acts that were considered crimes in their country. This person then fled to another country, where only one of their acts is considered a crime.

In the above example situation, would an extradition be allowed to bring the offender back to their home country? Would there perhaps be some type of agreement between the two countries to only punish the offender for the act which was considered a crime in both jurisdictions, and to drop the other charge?

I ask this question in general, rather than for a specific country overview. It might be easier to avoid United States law as it tends to get complicated.

1 Answer 1


Extradition is done for specific charges. A principle found in virtually all extradition treaties called the "rule of specialty" says that the country requesting extradition may not prosecute the defendant for any crimes except the ones for which extradition was granted without the permission of the extraditing country, except for crimes committed after the defendant is extradited. This protection expires once the defendant has been released from jail and had a fair chance to leave the country.

The rule of specialty doesn't necessarily mean the other charge needs to be dropped, but the defendant can't be tried for it as long as the rule applies. If they're later in the country for another reason (or don't leave when they have the chance), they can potentially be rearrested for the other crime. But as long as they're only in the country because they were extradited, they can't be tried for any other past crimes without the extraditing country's permission.

  • Surely the police would find the criminal's release date, and wait outside of prison to rearrest them? Dec 19, 2022 at 12:37
  • @user5623335 You get a reasonable chance to leave. For instance, in the US-Germany extradition treaty, you get 45 days. Under the treaty, the police can't rearrest you the instant you're released.
    – cpast
    Dec 19, 2022 at 12:56
  • Would you happen to know how many days someone would have in the United Kingdom (England and Wales jurisdiction) by any chance? Dec 19, 2022 at 15:25
  • @user5623335 The period might vary by treaty. Is there a country you had in mind to be extraditing the person to the UK?
    – cpast
    Dec 20, 2022 at 1:19
  • I forget the UK (England and Wales) is a bit of a mess and that these things are not centralised. I guess Spain and the Republic of Ireland would be two examples that spring to mind. Dec 21, 2022 at 14:30

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