Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


British government efforts to extradite members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) from the United States have posed challenges to U.S. extradition policy since the 1970s. Under extradition law, "political offenses" traditionally are treated as non-extraditable offenses. Use of the political offense exception to deny extradition of IRA fugitives from the United States prompted the United Kingdom and the United States to sign a Supplementary Treaty in 1985, which eliminated the political offense exception for broad categories of violent acts.

This Note briefly reviews the background of the conflict in Northern Ireland, and discusses extradition law and the political offense exception with respect to extradition of IRA fugitives from the United States. The Note then reviews criticisms of the Supplementary Treaty and various proposals for reform. The author concludes by discussing how recent peace process efforts have changed the political landscape so that the Supplementary Treaty is no longer necessary or desirable.