A known terrorist has committed an act of terrorism against the United States and its allies. This terrorist is currently being harbored by an uncooperative nation.  Describe some legal problems that might prevent the extradition of a terrorist to stand trial in the United States or in one of the allied nations.

The major obstacle of extradition of terrorists is the fact that in order to extradite a person from a country on criminal charges, the country that is harboring this person must have a treaty with the US that outlines extradition agreements. This is an extremely problematic area of law because for obvious cases of murder, countries with these agreements would have no issue with extradition of the person. However, even countries with agreements can refuse extradition if the crime the person is accused of is not a crime in the country harboring them. For example, Roman Polanski was a fugitive from the US and lived in France for most of his life because the French government refused to extradite him due to issues with his case in the US.

Polanski fled to France in 1978 only after learning during a discussion with the district attorney outside a Los Angeles courtroom that the judge in his case was preparing to sentence him to more prison time and require his voluntary deportation (Fisher, 2009).

Another major hurdle with extradition is the paperwork and administration. Each country requires different types of documentation and this can create issues with extraditing an individual. At the least, it offers them time to escape to another country. All countries have issues with extradition including the US. The US routinely harbors refugees and political activists who are considered criminals in their own country but because their actions do not break US law they are allowed to stay.


Fisher, L. (2009) Roman Polanski: What did he do?


There is definitely a relativistic quality to US policy with terrorism. The Middle East has been one long string of waffling policies and changing loyalties. When the Soviets were invading Afghanistan, the US backed Osama Bin Laden and his rebels. Today these groups are our enemy. The problem is that the US has heavy economic interests in the Middle East and this has been constant thorn with policy making.  If one good thing came out of 9/11 is the act that the US began increasing its oil production domestically. I am a firm believer that we need to do everything in our power to free ourselves of Middle East oil dependence.  The root causes of many poor policy initiatives and actions in the Middle East has been the direct result of oil interests.

I would argue that there has been no real policy success in the Middle East that would end terrorism or that would reduce the problems. Sanctions don’t work, trade does not seem to work, and even war seems to fail. I personally believe that we really need to leave the Middle East even if it means getting oil from our own or other sources.  The problems have not gotten better but instead seem to be worse.