|Author (Person)||Cronin, David|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.37, 11.10.01, p6|
WASHINGTON is signalling that EU concerns over the death penalty will be addressed in a transatlantic extradition deal, which both sides want to reach as part of their anti-terrorism drive.
EU justice officials are hoping to finalise proposals on streamlining extradition procedures in time for talks scheduled to take place in Brussels next month. But the Belgian presidency recently warned that there would be little chance of some member states handing over suspects to the US because of fears they could be executed.
According to a senior US official, the Bush administration is adamant "the death penalty debate should not be allowed to obscure" the issue of judicial cooperation.
One way of breaking the impasse would be to model the transatlantic pact on the bilateral extradition treaties, which Washington has signed with some EU countries. A new treaty with France, for example, allows Paris to seek assurances that suspects it extradites to the US will not be sentenced to death, no matter how serious the charges against them.
The treaty is awaiting ratification by the French parliament. Dick Oosting, head of Amnesty International's EU office, said he could not envisage the EU signing an extradition deal which omitted guarantees that the death penalty would not be applied. "Opposition to the death penalty is a bottom-line issue for us, as it is for the European Union," he added.
Meanwhile, discussions are due to intensify in the next few weeks about how US law enforcement agencies can share more information on terrorism and other forms of organised crime with the EU's police office, Europol. Cooperation has been hampered until now, partly because of the different data protection standards applying on each side of the Atlantic.
Washington is signalling that EU concerns over the death penalty will be addressed in a transatlantic extradition deal, which both sides want to reach as part of their anti-terrorism drive.
|Subject Categories||Justice and Home Affairs, Security and Defence|
|Countries / Regions||United States|