Review of the Office of International Affairs' Role
in the International Extradition of Fugitives
Report Number I-2002-008
We found that OIA's effectiveness in managing extradition requests depends upon the status of the extradition and actions generated by outside prosecutors and law enforcement authorities. OIA meets deadlines mandated by the treaties or courts and acts on new extradition requests promptly. However, our review of 58 cases indicated that OIA could have taken additional action in nearly 60 percent of the cases.
OIA has significant responsibilities in the extradition process. In addition to ensuring the extradition request meets legal and treaty requirements, OIA is responsible for managing information that may affect decisions pertaining to the extradition. OIA should ensure that the appropriate law enforcement authorities and prosecutors receive important information pertaining to the fugitive, that foreign and U.S. prosecutors follow up to obtain requested information needed to extradite a fugitive, and if the extradition is not successful, whether the requesting organization is still interested in pursuing the fugitive. Under its current practices, OIA does not actively manage its extradition caseload in a manner that ensures that all necessary actions on extradition cases are completed. OIA relies on U.S. or foreign prosecutors to initiate all actions. OIA has not developed internal policies, procedures, or standards for processing extradition cases that delineate staff responsibilities, time frames, or priorities to guide employees or communicate management expectations. In addition, because of their current caseload and their view of their responsibilities, OIA attorneys believe that they do not need to do more in the extradition process. Accordingly, we found instances when OIA should have ensured prosecutors received important information and cases where OIA did not act upon requests from prosecutors. We believe that OIA's current practices fall short of its mission and the office needs to establish procedures for case file review to ensure that it has taken all actions to facilitate the extradition.
The majority of case files we reviewed were either disorganized or missing key documents and information. From the conditions of the case files, the history and status of the extradition requests could not be readily determined. OIA has not established and implemented standards for maintaining the extradition case files.
ETS is not used office-wide as a case tracking system and OIA staff do not find it to be reliable or user-friendly. While OIA staff have devised their own methods for tracking cases, we found these methods are inadequate for the volume of extradition cases that must be tracked and for the type of data needed for management oversight.
We recommend that OIA: