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20 February 2018

Extradition in the United Arab Emirates

General Definition

Extradition, in international law, is the process by which one state (requesting State), upon the request of another (requested State), effects the return of a person for trial for a crime punishable by the laws of the requesting State and committed outside the State of refuge or final convictions. This process must include three parties: the requesting State, the requested State and the person requested for criminal trial or final conviction.

Governing Laws

Extradition is governed and subject to two kind of laws: the local laws of both States and the existence of a treaty between the two States.

Extradition in UAE

  • The UAE has deployed since 2006 a specific Federal Law known as Federal Law no. 39 of 2006 on Mutual Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters.
  • This law permits the UAE authorities only to hear the formal procedures and conditions of the extradition request regardless of the nature of the crime.
  • The UAE is a signatory party to the Riyadh Arab Convention on Judicial Co-operation in 1983, which was signed by most other Arab countries including Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.
  • The UAE is also a signatory party to many bilateral treaties signed and ratified for judicial co-operation such as agreements with Australia, China, Egypt, France, India, Iran, Pakistan, Spain, the United Kingdom and Republic of Kazakhstan.
  • The UAE has set up a judicial mechanism made up of five stages enabling the person requested for extradition to challenge the extradition process as follows:
    • The Local Interpol Authorities in the UAE
    • The Public Prosecution heading the International Judicial Matters
    • The Court of Appeal
    • The Cassation Court
    • The Ministry of Justice & The Ministry of Interior
  • Article 7 of the Federal Law no. 39 of 2006 on Mutual Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters states the conditions that need to be fulfilled in order to qualify for accepting extradition.
  • Article 9 of the same law states the legal obstacles that will lead to non-extradition.

Case Study 1: The absence of an extradition treaty.

We advised a client on the legal challenges to resist the extradition process between UAE and Romania, which did not sign an extradition treaty with UAE.

Our client was subject to extradition request based on a final irrevocable conviction by the Highest Court.

In the absence of an extradition treaty, the authorities are bound to apply the local laws which is Federal Law no. 39 of 2006 on Mutual Judicial Co-operation Matters and to respect the important principle of Reciprocity in International Law.

In this specific case, the Court of Appeal ruled in favor of our client and declared non-extradition because the European state (Requesting State) did not abide and respect the principle of Reciprocity.

Case study 2: The existence of an extradition treaty.

We also advised a client on the legal challenges to resist the extradition process between UAE and Kazakhstan, with the existence of an extradition treaty with UAE signed and ratified in 2009.

Our client was subject to a warrant arrest issued by the Requesting State in abstention.

This case was a unique one, since there was a detailed extradition treaty that governs the extradition request. The requesting state had sent almost all the required legal documents and information that qualify the UAE authorities to determine extradition.

The UAE authorities by applying the extradition treaty had found that the indictment document was missing and the Court of Appeal ruled in favor of our client for non-extradition because of this legal  omission.

What does this mean?

  1. The UAE has entered into multilateral and bilateral extradition treaties during the last decade.
  2. The UAE has promulgated a very developed and up to date Federal Law in 2006 taking into consideration international affairs and local laws requirements without any challenges to its sovereignty over its subjects and the expats living in UAE from one side and the cosmopolitan environment UAE has set during the last decade with the high importance on the rule of the law and human rights guarantees secured under this law to the persons requested for extradition.
  3. The UAE has set a very detailed and staged judicial system specifically to hear and decide extradition requests.

This article was written by Ghassan El Daye. For more information please contact Ghassan on +971 42461903 or at ghassan.eldaye@crsblaw.com.

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