Extradition for Criminal Offences
Extradition involves cooperation, mainly between states, to facilitate both legal procedures and the enforcement of sentences.
The question of extradition arises when a state requests that a person who is suspected of an offence, is under prosecution or has been convicted, and who is outside the territory of that state, be extradited to it. Traditionally Sweden has not made extradition conditional on the existence of an agreement with the other state involved. Some states, however, will not allow extradition without the existence of a formal agreement.
Within the EU the procedure for extradition has in general been replaced by surrender according to the European Arrest Warrant (see under the chapter European Arrest Warrant). There are special rules regarding co-operation with International courts for crimes
Extradition from Sweden to a non-Nordic state
The Extradition for Criminal Offences Act (1957:668) regulates the conditions and procedures for extradition from Sweden. The Act is not applicable if the Act (1959:254) on Extradition for Criminal Offences to Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway or the Act (2003:1156) on surrender from Sweden according to the European arrest warrant is applicable in relation to the other state. The Act was drafted in close connection with the work of the Council of Europe which led to the 1957 European Convention on Extradition and in all essential respects the Act is based on the Convention.
Conditions for extradition to a state outside the EU
The Extradition for Criminal Offences Act prohibits the extradition of Swedish nationals.
Extradition is permitted, provided that the act for which extradition is requested is equivalent to a crime that is punishable under Swedish law by imprisonment for at least one year. If sentence has been passed in the state applying for extradition, the penalty must be imprisonment for at least four months or other institutional detention for an equivalent period. Thus, extradition requires an offence punishable under the law of both countries ("dual criminality") that, in principle, is of a certain degree of seriousness.
Extradition may not be granted for military or political offences. Nor may extradition be granted if there is reason to fear that the person whose extradition is requested runs a risk - on account of his or her ethnic origins, membership of a particular social group or religious or political beliefs - of being subjected to persecution threatening his or her life or freedom, or is serious in some other respect. Nor, moreover, may extradition be granted if it would be contrary to fundamental humanitarian principles, e.g. in consideration of a person's youth or the state of this person's health. Finally, in principle, extradition may not be granted if a judgment has been pronounced for the same offence in this country. Nor may extradition be granted if the offence would have been statute-barred by limitation under Swedish law.
The state requesting for extradition must show that there is reason for extradition in the specific case. The outcome of the crime investigation in the requesting state - generally a conviction or a detention order - must be enclosed with the request for extradition. When extradition is granted, certain conditions may be laid down. For example, without the consent of the Government in the particular case, the person who is extradited may not be prosecuted or punished in the other state for any other offence committed prior to extradition (the "principle of speciality"). Nor may he or she be re-extradited to another state without the consent of the Government. Furthermore, nor may the person who is extradited be sentenced to death.
Any state that desires the extradition of a person must make a request for extradition to the Central Authority, enclosing the report of the investigation on which the application request is based.
The Central Authority scrutinises the request to see if there is obvious reason why it should not be approved; if this is the case, the Government shall reject the request without delay. Otherwise the request is forwarded to the Office of the Prosecutor-General, which is required to determine whether the conditions for extradition laid down by law are met in this particular case. The actual investigation of the case follows the rules for preliminary investigations and is conducted by the regional or local public prosecution office in which district the person who is sought for extradition lives. If the person whose extradition is requested opposes extradition, it falls to the Supreme Court to examine whether extradition can be legally granted under the conditions laid down by law. The Supreme Court then delivers its opinion to the Government for use in its examination of the case. If the person involved does not oppose to extradition, the report from the investigation is instead delivered directly from the Prosecutor-General to the Government, which then makes its decision. If the request is approved, a date is set by which the person must be surrendered to the requesting state. With the assistance of Interpol, the police authority concerned determines a time and place for surrendering the person to the other state.
If the Supreme Court finds that there is any legal impediment to extradition, the Government is not allowed to approve the request. The Government can, however, refuse extradition even if the Supreme Court has not declared against extradition, as the law states that if certain conditions are fulfilled, a person "may" be extradited - not "shall" be extradited.
The regulations in the Extradition for Criminal Cases Act include provisions on the use of coercive measures pending a request for extradition from a foreign state. If an international warrant has been issued, a Swedish prosecutor can decide on certain coercive measures. Arrest, an injunction against travelling, obligation to report to the authorities and seizure are all measures that are applicable at this early stage of the proceedings. Decisions on coercive measures can also be taken following an application from a competent authority in a foreign state.
The prosecutor who has decided on the use of coercive measures must submit his or her decision to the district court under whose jurisdiction the case comes. If the court confirms the decision by the prosecutor to use coercive measures, the head of the Ministry of Justice, i.e. the Minister for Justice, must immediately be informed. If the Minister is of the opinion that future extradition is out of the question, the Government will order the cancellation of the decision to use coercive measures. In all other cases, the Minister for Justice will set a date by which a request for extradition must be received. The other state will be informed of the decision by the Central Authority. The time allowed for submitting a request must not exceed 40 days. If the other state does not present a request by the appointed date, the decision to use coercive measures will be revoked. In all other cases, a decision to implement coercive measures remains in force until extradition is enforced. The law also allows the possibility to decide whether to implement coercive measures after a request for extradition has been granted but before this decision has been enforced.
Extradition from Sweden to a Nordic state
The Extradition Act (1959:254) for Criminal Offences to Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway, only in Swedish, is a product of close cooperation between the Nordic countries, which have all passed similar legislation.
In relation to Denmark and Finland the Act (2003:1156) on surrender from Sweden according to the European arrest warrant is applicable, if the competent authorities do not agree that, in the specific case, the Act (1959:254) on Extradition for Criminal Offences to Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway should be applied.
Conditions for extradition
As a general rule, all that is required for extradition to another Nordic state is that the act is punishable by law in the requesting state. There is therefore no general requirement of "dual criminality".
A Swedish national can be extradited if, at the time when the offence was committed, he had been permanently domiciled for at least two years in the state requesting extradition or if the act for which extradition is requested is equivalent to an offence for which the range of punishment in Swedish law includes imprisonment for more than four years. However, extradition is not permitted if the act is only punishable by a fine in the requesting state.
There is no impediment to extradition for military offences. Extradition for political offences is only permitted if the act is an offence according to Swedish law and if the person whose extradition is requested is not a Swedish national.
A person who is extradited may not be prosecuted for an offence committed before extradition if he has been sentenced, or has been granted a waiver of prosecution, for that offence here in Sweden. If the case concerns a Swedish national or a political offence, prosecution for another offence is only permissible if:
- the Government has given special assent for this, or
- the person extradited has consented to such prosecution or has voluntarily remained in the country after the prosecution for which extradition was granted, or
- the person has voluntarily returned to the requesting state after having left it.
Re-extradition to a third state requires, in principle, the special agreement of the Government.
Unlike extradition requests involving non-Nordic countries, no assessment of guilt is made in Nordic cases. The evaluation of the evidence is left to the requesting country. However, a conviction or a decision (usually a detention order) demonstrating the existence of probable cause for suspicion must be presented in connection with the application. If the person whose extradition is requested consents to extradition or confesses to the act, not even this needs to be included with the request.
The authorities concerned shall establish direct contact with one another instead of submitting an application for extradition to the Central Authority. This means that an extradition request should be sent to the regional or local public prosecution office in the locality where the wanted person is living.
A local prosecutor conducts an investigation, following the regulations for preliminary investigations in criminal cases. If the person who is wanted consents to extradition, the local prosecutor himself can, with certain exceptions, deliver a decision on extradition. If not, the case must be transferred to the Office of the Prosecutor-General. The Prosecutor-General has the authority to decide on extradition if it is evident that the request should be approved and if the case does not involve a Swedish national or extradition for a political offence. In these cases the authority to decide is reserved for the Government. The Government then has the option of procuring a statement from the Supreme Court. As in non-Nordic cases, if the Supreme Court rejects the request, the Government is not allowed to give its approval.
Coercive measures can be implemented pending the presentation of a request for extradition. The provisions in this area are similar to those for non-Nordic states, though with two important exceptions. The period within which a Nordic country is required to present an extradition request is two weeks. In addition, it is sufficient that the range of punishment for the offence in Sweden includes imprisonment. Coercive measures can therefore not be used if an act is not punishable under Swedish law, even though the possibility of extradition does exist in such cases.
Extradition to Sweden
The point of departure when Sweden is the party requesting extradition is the Ordinance concerning certain provisions on the Extradition for Criminal Offences (1982:306).
A number of points should be considered before dispatching a request for extradition. The law provides that it must always be assessed whether or not it is reasonable to request extradition.
Note that relative to other EU Member States it is not a question of extradition but surrender according to the European Arrest Warrant.
How a request is initiated
In general, the Central Authority receives notification that a person is under provisional arrest on account of an international search warrant issued by Sweden through Interpol channels. The Central Authority then contacts the Swedish authority that has issued the warrant for arrest to confirm that extradition of the person is still of current interest. After that, the central authority of the other state is asked directly or via the Swedish Embassy in that country to indicate the deadline for presentation of a request for extradition.
Extradition from a non-Nordic state
A request for extradition from a non-Nordic state, for purposes of prosecution, of a person who is suspected of an offence in Sweden or is a defendant in a criminal case in this country, is made by a prosecutor. The request is sent to the Office of the Prosecutor-General, who decides whether it should be passed on to the Central Authority for forwarding to the other state. The request should be accompanied by minutes of the detention hearing, a specially drawn up detention order or other document that shows clearly that a court has found that the person sought for extradition is suspected on probable cause of having committed the crime in question, indicating where and when the act occurred, relevant sections of the law etc. The Central Authority is responsible for translation.
A request for extradition from a non-Nordic state for the enforcement of a prison sentence, forensic psychiatric care or institutional care of a minor is made by the National Prison and Probation Service, National Board of Health and Welfare or National Board of Institutional Care, respectively. The request shall be presented to the Central Authority for forwarding to the other state. Such request must be accompanied by a copy of the judgment that is to be enforced, information on the term of sentence that remains to be served, identification data etc. The Central Authority is responsible for translation.
When the Central Authority has been notified that the other state has taken a decision to grant the request, the authority requesting extradition will be informed. The contacts between the Swedish and foreign authorities on the enforcement of extradition are then managed by Interpol.
Extradition from Denmark, Finland, Iceland or Norway
A request for extradition from Denmark, Finland, Iceland or Norway, for purposes of prosecution of a person who is suspected of an offence in Sweden or is a defendant in a criminal case in this country, shall be made by a police authority or prosecution authority. The request must include information on the nature of the offence and when and where the act occurred. Any such request must be accompanied by a copy of a decision showing that a court has found that there is probable cause to believe that the person whose extradition is requested has committed the stated offence. This is not, however, required if there is reason to assume that the person in question consents to being extradited or confesses to the offence.
A request for extradition from Denmark, Finland, Iceland or Norway for the enforcement of a prison sentence, forensic psychiatric care or institutional care of a minor shall be made by a police authority or prosecution authority, at the request of the National Prison and Probation Service, the National Board of Health and Welfare or the National Board of Institutional Care. Any such request shall be accompanied by a copy of the judgment that is to be enforced and by certain other documents from the investigation.
The request shall be sent to the competent police authority or public prosecution office in the other state or to the responsible ministry in that country.
Relative to Denmark and Finland the competent prosecutor may choose to request that the suspect is surrendered according to the European arrest warrant.
Laws, Conventions and Agreements
- The Extradition for Criminal Offences Act (1957:668)
- Extradition Act (1959:254) for Criminal Offences to Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway (only in Swedish)
- The Proclamation concerning the Application of the Extradition Act (1959:254) for Criminal Offences to Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway (1960:472) (only in Swedish)
- The Ordinance concerning Certain Provisions on Extradition for Criminal Offences (1982:306) (only in Swedish)
- Act on Cooperation between Sweden and the International Tribunals for Violations of International Humanitarian Law (1994:569) (only in Swedish)
- Act on co-operation with the International Criminal Court (2002:329) (only in Swedish)
- The Ordinances (1999:746), (2000:701), (2001:758) and (2002:722) on the coming into force of The Extradition for Criminal Offences Act (1957:668) (only in Swedish)
- The Governments Notification (2001:716) on Agreements referred to in The Extradition for Criminal Offences Act (1957:668) (only in Swedish)
- The Governments Notification (2001:717) on Agreements referred to in the Extradition Act (1959:254) for Criminal Offences to Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway (only in Swedish)
The Governments Notification (2001:718) on Agreements referred to in the Ordinance concerning Certain Provisions on Extradition for Criminal Offences (1982:306) (only in Swedish)
Conventions and Agreements
- The Convention 1870 with Belgium concerning extradition for Criminal Offences (SÖ 1951:31, SÖ 1973:149, SÖ 1988:11)
(The Convention is not being used anymore)
- The 1957 European Convention on Extradition (SÖ 1959:65, SÖ 1967:46)
- Additional Protocol of 15 October 1975 on Extradition (SÖ 1976:27)
- Second Additional Protocol of 17 March 1978 on Extradition (SÖ 1979:13)
- Convention on Extradition between the United States of America and Sweden 24 October 1961 (SÖ 1963:17)
- Supplementary Convention on Extradition between the United States of America and Sweden 14 March 1983 (SÖ 1984:34)
- Extradition Treaty between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Sweden (SÖ 1965:19, SÖ 1965:20, SÖ 1979:62, SÖ 1980:4)
- Convention on Offences and Certain other Acts Comitted on board Aircraft (SÖ 1967:40)
- Convention for the Supression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft (SÖ 1971:17)
- Convention for the Supression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation (SÖ 1973:48)
- Treaty between Sweden and Australia concerning Extradition (SÖ 1974:3, SÖ 1985:64, SÖ 1989:49)
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents (SÖ 1975:30)
- Bilateral Treaty between Sweden and Canada concerning Extradition (SÖ 2001:42)
- European Convention on the suppression of terrorism (SÖ 1977:12)
- International Convention against the Taking of Hostages (SÖ 1980:26)
- United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances 1988 (SÖ 1991:41)
- Agreement 1989 between the Member States of the European Union on the simplification and modernization of methods of transmitting extradition requests (San Sebastian)
- Agreement with France concerning the Application of the European Convention on Extradition (SÖ 1991:24) (in Swedish and French)
- Convention on Simplified Extradition Procedure between the Member States of the European Union 1995 (SÖ 1998:43)
- Convention relating to Extradition between the Member States of the European Union 1996 (SÖ 2001:49)
- Convention from 19 June 1990 applying the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985
- International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings 1997 (SÖ 2001:22)
A list of states which are parties to the different conventions is found in the Governments notification concerning ratifications made by other states of conventions on cooperation in Criminal Matters (2005:122) (only in Swedish)