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Cablegate: Request to Open Negotiations On New Extradition Treaty With

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UNCLAS ZAGREB 01298

SIPDIS
R 260719Z OCT 06

FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6841
RUEAWJA/DOJ WASHDC

UNCLAS ZAGREB 001298

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR L/LEI - CLIFTON JOHNSON, EUR/SCE - RBALIAN
CA/OCS/ACS - KIM CHRISTMAN
DOJ/OIA FOR MICHAEL DITTOE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KTIA CJAN HR
SUBJECT: REQUEST TO OPEN NEGOTIATIONS ON NEW EXTRADITION TREATY WITH
CROATIA

REF: September 28, 2006 Johnson/Elvikis email

1. Summary: Post requests that Department open negotiations with
Croatia on a new extradition treaty to replace the current treaty
with the Kingdom of Serbia dating from 1901. The Croatian MOJ has
expressed its desire to update the treaty as soon as feasible. The
current treaty limits the offenses for which extradition can be
sought, frustrating both sides in their efforts to bring to justice
perpetrators of more modern crimes. End summary.

2. A number of Croatian government officials from various law
enforcement related offices have raised the issue of a new treaty
with Embassy officers. Liljana Vodopija Cengic, Assistant Minister
of Justice for the Directorate for International Legal Assistance,
recently told Consul of the GOC's frustration with the antique
extradition treaty currently in force between the U.S. and Croatia.
A list treaty dating from 1901, the current extradition treaty did
not foresee, and consequently does not permit extradition of
fugitives suspected of "modern" crimes. Ms. Cengic cited
specifically the crime of pedophilia, noting a recent case in which
the GOC was able to extradite an American accused of this crime
thanks only to the Croatian judge's very creative interpretation of
the current treaty - a liberty which would not have been permitted
in the U.S. judicial system.

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3. In light of the expressions of interest on the Croatian side, and
to maintain the momentum in U.S.-Croatian relations resulting from
the Croatian PM's recent visit to the White House, post asks that
priority be given to opening negotiations with Croatia on a new
extradition treaty. The current, antique treaty does not permit
extradition for contemporary crimes such as drug trafficking,
aircraft hijacking, money laundering and terrorism; it is very much
in the USG interest to close that loophole. Additionally, Croatia
is on track to receive an invitation to join NATO in 2008. The
level of judicial cooperation possible between our two countries
should be commensurate with that increased level of partnership.

4. Judicial cooperation between the U.S. and Croatia is good,
though somewhat hampered by this outdated treaty. The MOJ has
worked hard to improve its handling of extraditions under the
current treaty, showing a great determination to bring Croatian
international judicial cooperation up to EU levels. Post is
confident that the GOC will demonstrate a similar conscientiousness
in carrying out the terms of a new treaty. Post looks forward to
opening negotiations with our Croatian interlocutors on a new
treaty.
BRADTKE

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