Chess and extradition | Manila weather


The release of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who was facing extradition charges to the United States, and the success of “Queen’s Gambit” on Netflix, recalled the case of Bobby Fisher, the world champion. failures during the Cold War period.

Extradition is a complicated process. Its proceedings are not criminal proceedings and are not conducted to determine the guilt or innocence of a possible extradited person. Extradition is not a civil trial either. The purpose of the extradition procedure is to determine whether the arrested person should be released or extradited to the requesting state in order to compel the potential extraditee to face criminal prosecution or to serve a prison sentence on the territory of the requesting State.

After Fisher was indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington for breaking international emergency economic powers law when he ignored US sanctions imposed on then-Yugoslavia by playing chess there against Boris Spassky, Fisher became a fugitive. He refused to return home to America. He faced a prison term of up to 10 years. One of the countries where he hid was the Philippines from where he congratulated the perpetrators of the September 11, 2011 attacks.

Although he was not arrested here, his case raises an academic question: could he have been extradited under Philippine laws? The Philippine extradition law is old, Presidential Decree 1059, promulgated by President Marcos in 1977.

The basic condition of extradition is the existence of a treaty between the State requesting the extradition and the extraditing State. The rule is simple: no treaty, no extradition. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs receives the extradition request and if everything is in order, the request is forwarded to the Ministry of Justice, which in turn will ask the courts to issue an extradition order.

Provisional arrest can also be made in an emergency. In this case, the director of the National Bureau of Investigation may immediately obtain from the regional trial court a warrant for the provisional arrest of the accused, giving the requesting State 20 days to submit the extradition request. Otherwise, the accused is released.

An important limitation is that the crime charged must not be a political offense, that is, an act performed for a political objective defined as a crime against the state. Political crimes are the work of fortune and not of the law. If the objective of a political crime is successful, no one would dare call it a criminal. Defamation, if committed as an incident of sedition, may be characterized as seditious libel in some jurisdictions and, therefore, not extraditable. Another limitation is dual criminality. If the act of the alleged perpetrator is a criminal act in the requesting State, to justify extradition, the same act must also be considered as a criminal act in the territory of the requested State.

Another limitation concerns the stipulations of the treaty, which means that extradition can only be carried out in accordance with the terms of a treaty. In addition, if a person has already been acquitted for the alleged crime, they cannot be extradited as double jeopardy will ensue. If a person is arrested, they can be granted bail on their behalf provided they do not pose a risk of absconding and there are compelling and humanitarian circumstances that justify granting bail.

Extradition must also respect the doctrine of specialty, which means that a requesting State cannot try the extradited person for a felony or misdemeanor other than that for which the alleged perpetrator was extradited. The extradited person cannot be punished more severely than required by the crime for which extradition has been requested. No other penalty should be imposed on the person, except the penalty specified at the time of extradition.

If the extradition treaty is declared void by our Supreme Court, the extradition cannot be effected and all pending extradition requests based on the void treaty will be rejected. However, if a treaty is valid, the requested State must comply with its provisions at the time the extradition treaty enters into force or takes effect.

Could master chess player Bobby Fisher have been extradited to the United States? No. Due to the lack of a dual criminality requirement, Fisher could not be extradited. By choosing the Philippines as his place of refuge, the chess master has made a brilliant gesture.


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