Snowden affair: US puts its internal legislation above international law

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Snowden affair: US puts its internal legislation above international law
Published 23-07-2013, 19:13
The relations between Russia and the US have been going through rough times. One of the irritants is the issue of extradition of people accused of committing crimes. The much publicized case is that of former CIA official Edward Snowden. The Americans demanding his extradition, which is to threaten bilateral relations. At the same time, it’s quite clear that regardless what the decision will be, it will be politically motivated. President of the Institute of National Strategy, Mikhail Remizov, talked to the Voice of Russia about the future of Russian-American relations and international norms of extradition and deportation.

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However, the Americans are relying on understanding. At the same time, they have no desire to display understanding themselves concerning Russians who are hiding from justice in the US. Unlike Snowden, these people committed crimes against people. It seems that this has nothing to do with politics. But, as is well known, if you really wish it strongly, an assassin can become a human rights activist, while a robber - a dissident, and bandit - a fighter of an armed opposition.

It seems that such a metamorphosis has occurred in the case of Ilyas Akhmadov and Tamaz Nalbandov. One of them is accused of organizing an insurgency and setting up of an illegal rebel group in the North Caucasus, while the other is accused of smuggling people and blackmail in North Ossetia. Both Akhmadov and Nalbandov are enjoying immigrant status in the US Appeals for their extradition have been rejected. Naturally, such an approach is puzzling. Here is an opinion from the President of the Institute of National Strategy, Mikhail Remizov.

"The principle of parity between states as sovereign players is enshrined in international law. The US has not honoured it for a long time and does not like it. This demonstratively displays the supremacy of their own jurisdiction and its priority, over the jurisdiction of other countries. This is shown by its unwillingness to undertake commitments concerning participation in international institutions, such as the International Criminal Court. Such an asymmetry is quite normal for the U.S. although this principle is well-known since the times of ancient Rome. "What Jupiter is allowed to do, the bull is not,” Mikhail Remizov said.

Notably, Russia has been actively cooperating with other countries through Interpol in the fight against international terrorism. The majority of requests on the extradition of terrorists, who are trying to hide from justice in other countries, are met because these countries adequately assess the danger to society posed by them, and do not exclude the possibility that they might commit crimes on their territories. However, there is a setback in the US concerning this practice. The situation with Akhmadov and Nalbandov is a good example. Here is an opinion form Assistant Dean of the World Politics Faculty at Moscow State University, Andrei Sidorov.

"The US puts its internal legislation above international law. This concerns not only the exchange of criminals, but also in all other areas. The US policy towards Russia comes down to a few issues, especially the further reduction of nuclear weapons. The US has often said it is ready to discuss a wide range of issues. But, to a larger extent, Russia is an uncomfortable partner for the US Consequently, the relations between the two countries will hardly improve,” Andrei Sidorov said.

In fact, sometimes, the US is ready to cooperate. For one, the Americans extradited a criminal kingpin Vyacheslav Ivankov aka Yaponchik. But in this case they applied the mechanism of deportation rather than extradition. The formal reason for this was Ivankov violated American laws.

Meanwhile, Russia’s law enforcement agencies do not find it possible to violate their own country’s laws. A foreigner can be extradited under a court ruling if he violates immigration law. But Snowden did not violate it. Moreover, he has not crossed the Russian border, and has stayed in the transit zone of the airport.

Americans refer to the rule of reciprocity that is used among diplomats. But, Moscow does not feel this. Moreover, there is a belief that this reciprocity is imaginary. Probably, by abandoning the passion for world hegemony, one can count on that understanding, which American diplomats are talking about.


By Sergey Duz

Voice of Russia


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