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Costa Rica Drops Extradition Treaty With US

On January 13, 1993, the Costa Rican Constitutional Court issued a ruling suspending application of its 1982 extradition treaty with the US because of a June, 1992, US Supreme Court ruling which authorizes the US to kidnap individuals in other countries in order to bring them to trial. Since extradition is defined as the only valid procedure in Costa Rica for bringing suspects to trial in another country, the judges said the US ruling constitutes a violation of Costa Rican law and national sovereignty.

Costa Rica's constitution also guarantees foreigners the same rights and protections as citizens. The controversial decision came in conjunction with the court's favorable ruling on a writ of habeas corpus presented on December 18, 1992, by James Karls, a US citizen wanted in Wisconsin on homicide charges. The US has requested that Costa Rica extradite Karls.

In January 14, 1993, comments to reporters, Costa Rican foreign minister Bernard Niehaus confirmed that the San Jose court's ruling, which makes application of the extradition treaty illegal, could have serious repercussions on relations with the US. However, he said it was possible that the existing extradition treaty could be modified.
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