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Belize “domesticates” extradition treaty with Mexico, but after Schnitzer’s escape

By Marion Ali, Staff Reporter

Belize’s law governing extradition is now in tandem with an Extradition Treaty it signed in August, 1988 with Mexico, which permits the extradition of any individual wanted in any of the two countries for trial.

The law needed to be “domesticated” as described by Prime Minister Dean Barrow, when the House met last Friday.

But while it went through that process, the adjustment came after, and is quite likely the result of the escape of Mexican fugitive, David Nanes Schnitzer. What the law does now, is prevent any such escape of a wanted figure again.

In introducing the matter in the House last Friday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Hubert Elrington explained that when the Treaty was signed, it did not allow for extraditions to occur in the form in which it stood. Prime Minister Barrow later clarified that the Bill was not amended, but needed to be incorporated into municipal law.

“There is a difference in the procedure used in Belize and that of Mexico with respect to the laws of our two countries.” Barrow said based on his understanding of what Mexican Ambassador Quesnel Melendez said on the matter during a media luncheon last week, the treaty agreement was enough ground upon which to bring it into force and to have it take practical effect in Mexico.

Mexico had requested the extradition of Schnitzer when he was discovered to be living in Belize last November. When he escaped after Supreme Court justice Denis Hanomansingh granted him bail, Mexico sent Belize a diplomatic note expressing its displeasure over how the matter was handled.

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