United States and Croatia Sign Bilateral Agreements Enhancing Law Enforcement Cooperation

On Tuesday, United States Attorney General William P. Barr and Croatia’s Minister of Justice Dražen Bošnjaković signed an extradition and mutual legal assistance agreement on behalf of their nations at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, DC.

Attorney General Barr signed the bilateral U.S.-Croatia extradition and mutual legal assistance instruments, which were negotiated this year by the Department of State’s Office of the Legal Adviser and the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs.

“I commend the negotiators from our countries for their work on U.S.-Croatia law enforcement cooperation agreements, and for expeditiously preparing these texts for signature before Croatia begins its EU presidency next month,” said Attorney General Barr. “The instruments will further strengthen our bilateral law-enforcement relationship, improving the ability to extradite fugitives and exchange evidence needed for prosecutions.”

“This is a great achievement which will further strengthen relations between our two countries,” said Minister of Justice Bošnjaković. “These two new agreements respond to the challenges of fighting cross-border crime in a more efficient manner.”

Present at the signing were officials from the U.S. Department of State and the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Croatia.

The new agreements enhance bilateral relations by affording both nations with better information-sharing and cooperative capabilities. The new extradition agreement modernizes the extradition relationship between the countries, which had been governed by a 1901 treaty.  The instrument provides a dual-criminality basis for extradition, and it streamlines the procedures to be followed in pursuing extradition.  The mutual legal assistance instrument, the first such bilateral instrument between the countries, will better enable prosecutors to exchange information facilitating the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of crime.  It will improve cooperation in the fight against terrorism, organized crime, corruption, cybercrime, and other serious transnational criminal offenses.

The instruments stem from the legal framework of the U.S.-European Union Agreements on Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance signed on June 25, 2003, prior to Croatia entering the EU.

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Author: December 10, 2019

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