Colombia Expands Extradition Deals with LatAm Countries, Europe

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While debating the signing of a new extradition treaty with Mexico, Colombia will seek to establish or modify such deals with six other countries, evidence that President Juan Manuel Santos’ government is willing to increase its use of the controversial legal tool.

Colombia’s justice minister Juan Carlos Esguerra announced that the government is negotiating changes in their extradition deals with France, Costa Rica, and Panama. The government is also seeking to modify its extradition deal with Argentina, which is still presumed to be in force, according to the Organization of American States (OAS).

Colombia is additionally pursuing new extradition deals with Russia and Paraguay, according to El Tiempo.

According to the OAS, Colombia currently has signed extradition treaties with 15 countries, as well as the United States. However, not all of these treaties are in force.

The most recent high-profile extradition case from Colombia to the US is Dolly Cifuentes, the mistress of former president Alvaro Uribe’s deceased brother, pictured above.

InSight Crime Analysis

Many of the modifications in Colombia’s pre-existing extradition deals will likely involve changing procedures for how suspected or convicted criminals are handed over to the other country. But there already is some debate over whether these treaties will allow more justice to be done. Colombian Congress still hasn’t signed last year’s extradition deal with Mexico into law, with some opponents arguing that this would only increase impunity rates, due to corruption within Mexico’s judicial system.

Extradition has long been a controversial legal tool in Colombia. There has been widespread concern that paramilitaries extradited to the US on drug trafficking charges were granted reduced sentences for sharing intelligence with US authorities, and thus avoided being charged for other crimes in Colombia. Colombia’s justice minister has described the sentences issued by US courts to the paramilitaries as “lax.”

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