The refusal of some countries to extradite persons accused or convicted of terrorist act has focused attention on the problems caused by the political offense exception to extradition. Extradition is the process by which one country returns an accused or convicted person found within its borders to another country for trial or punishment. Under the political offense exception, the requested state may, if it considers the crime to be a “political offense,” deny extradition to the requesting state.
Protection of political offenses is a recent addition to the ancient practice of extradition. It is the result of two fundamental changes that occurred as European monarchies were replaced by representative governments. First, these governments began to reject what had been a primary intent of extradition, to expedite the return of political offenders, and instead sought to protect dissidents fleeing despotic regimes. Second, countries began to contend that they had no legal or moral duty to extradite offenders without specific agreements creating such obligations. As extradition laws subsequently developed through international treaties, the political offense exception gradually became an accepted principle among Western nations.
There is no international consensus, however, as to what constitutes a political offense. For analytical purposes illegal political conduct has traditionally been divided into two categories. “Pure” political offenses are acts perpetrated directly against the government, such as treason and espionage. These crimes are generally recognized as non extraditable, even if not expressly excluded from extradition by the applicable treaty. In contrast, common crimes, such as murder, assault, and robbery, are generally extraditable. However, there are some common crimes that are so inseparable from a political act that the entire offense is regarded as political. These crimes, which are called “relative” political offenses, are generally non extraditable. Despite the widespread acceptance of these analytic constructs, the distinctions are more academic than meaningful. When it comes to real cases, there is no agreement about what transforms a common crime into a political offense and about whether terrorist acts fall within the protection of the exception. Most terrorists claim that their acts do fall under this protection.
Nations of the world must now balance the competing needs of political freedom and international public order. It is time to reexamine the political offense exception, as international terrorism eradicates the critical distinctions between political offenses and nonpolitical crimes. The only rational and attainable objective of the exception is to protect the requested person against unfair treatment by the requesting country. The international community needs to find an alternative to the political offense exception that would protect the rights of requested persons and yet not offer terrorists immunity from criminal liability.
1. In the passage, the author primarily seeks to
(A) define a set of terms
(B) outline a new approach
(C) describe a current problem
(D) expose an illegal practice
(E) present historical information
2. According to the passage, when did countries begin to except political offenders from extradition?
(A) when the principle of extraditing accused or convicted persons originated
(B) when some nations began refusing to extradite persons accused or convicted of terrorist acts
(C) when representative governments began to replace European monarchies
(D) when countries began to refuse to extradite persons accused or convicted of common crimes
(E) when governments began to use extradition to expedite the return of political offenders
3. Given the discussion in the passage, which one of the following distinctions does the author consider particularly problematic?
(A) between common crimes and “relative” political offense
(B) between “pure” political offenses and common crimes
(C) between “pure” political offenses and “relative” political offenses
(D) between terrorist acts and acts of espionage
(E) between the political offense exception and other exceptions to extradition
4. According to the author, the primary purpose of the political offense exception should be to
(A) ensure that terrorists are tried for their acts
(B) ensure that individuals accused of political crimes are not treated unfairly
(C) distinguish between political and nonpolitical offenses
(D) limit extradition to those accused of “pure” political offenses
(E) limit extradition to those accused of “relative” political offenses
5. It can be inferred from the passage that the author would agree with which one of the following statements about the political offense exception?
(A) The exception is very unpopular.
(B) The exception is probably illegal.
(C) The exception is used too little.
(D) The exception needs rethinking.
(E) The exception is too limited.
6. When referring to a balance between “the competing needs of political freedom and international public order” (lines 54-55) the author means that nations must strike a balance between
(A) allowing persons to protest political injustice and preventing them from committing political offenses
(B) protecting the rights of persons requested for extradition and holding terrorists criminally liable
(C) maintaining the political offense exception to extradition and clearing up the confusion over what is a political offense
(D) allowing nations to establish their own extradition policies and establishing an agreed-upon international approach to extradition
(E) protecting from extradition persons accused of “pure” political offenses and ensuring the trial of persons accused of “relative” political offenses
7. The author would most likely agree that the political offense exception
(A) has, in some cases, been stretched beyond intended use
(B) has been used too infrequently to be evaluated
(C) has been a modestly useful weapon again terrorism
(D) has never met the objective for which it was originally established
(E) has been of more academic than practical value to political dissidents
8. Which one of the following, if true, would give the author most cause to reconsider her recommendation regarding the political offense exception (lines 62-66)?
(A) More nations started refusing to extradite persons accused or convicted of terrorist acts.
(B) More nations started extraditing persons accused or convicted of treason, espionage, and other similar crimes.
(C) The nations of the world sharply decreased their use of the political offense exception protect persons accused of each of the various types of “pure” political offenses.
(D) The nations of the world sharply decreased their use of the political offense exception to protect persons accused of each of the various types of “relative” political offenses.
(E) The nations of the world started to disagree over the analytical distinction between “pure” political offenses and “relative” political offenses.
will provide the OA after discussion
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