Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, Transmitted to Congress, With the Annual Message of the President, December 7, 1874
to Mr. Fish.
Brussels, March 18, 1874. (Received April 4.)
Sir: The Moniteur Beige, official organ the government, of yesterday’s date, publishes the law recently adopted in regard to extradition, a copy of which I inclose herewith.
I have, &c.,
Ministry of justice.—Extradition law.
Leopold II, King of the Belgians, to all to whom these presents shall come, greeting
The chambers have adopted and we sanction the following:
Article 1. The government may deliver up to the governments of foreign countries, on condition of reciprocity, any foreigner who is under prosecution or accusation, or who has been sentenced by the courts of said countries, as principal or accessory, for one of the acts hereinafter enumerated committed within their territory:
- For assassination, poisoning, parricide, infanticide, murder, violation of the person.
- For arson.
- For counterfeiting of public bills or bank-notes, of public or private bonds; issuing or placing in circulation of such counterfeit bills, notes, or bonds; forgery in documents or in telegraphic dispatches, and use of such counterfeit dispatches, bills, notes, or bonds.
- For false coinage, including the counterfeiting and alteration of coins, the issuing and placing in circulation of counterfeit or altered coin, and also frauds in the choice of samples for the verification of the title and weight of coins.
- For false testimony, and false declarations of experts or interpreters.
- For theft, swindling, peculation, or embezzlement committed by public functionaries.
- For fraudulent bankruptcy, and frauds committed in failures.
- For association of evil-doers.
- For threats to commit such acts of violence against the person or property as subject their perpetrator to the penalty of death, compulsory labor, or reclusion.
- For abortion.
- For bigamy.
- For attempts against individual liberty and the inviolability of the domicile, committed by private persons.
- For kidnapping, concealment, withholding, or substitution of an infant.
- For exposure or abandonment of an infant.
- For kidnapping of minors.
- For an attempt against chastity, with violence.
- For an attempt against chastity, committed without violence, on the person or by the aid of the person of a child of either sex less than fourteen years of age.
- For an offense against good morals by exciting, facilitating, or favoring habitually, in order to gratify the passions of others, lewdness or corruption in minors of either sex.
- For blows given or wounds inflicted voluntarily, with premeditation, or having caused an apparently incurable malady, permanent incapacity for personal labor, loss of the full use of an organ, a severe mutilation, or death, although caused unintentionally.
- For breach of trust and deception.
- For subornation of witnesses, experts, or interpreters.
- For false swearing.
- For counterfeiting of seals, stamps, punches, and marks, use of counterfeit seals, stamps, punches, and marks, and unlawful use of genuine seals, stamps, punches, and marks.
- For bribery of public functionaries.
- For destruction of buildings, steam-engines, or telegraphic apparatus, destruction or defacing of tombstones, monuments, objects of art, documents or other papers, destruction or injury of wares, merchandise, or other movable property, and opposition to the execution of public works.
- For destruction and devastation of harvests, plants, trees, or grafts.
- For destruction of agricultural instruments, destruction or poisoning of cattle or other animals.
- For abandonment by a captain, except in the cases provided for by law, of a merchant or fishing vessel.
- For running aground, loss, or destruction by the captain or the officers and crew; unlawful appropriation, by the captain of a ship or of a merchant or fishing vessel; throwing overboard or unnecessary destruction of the whole or any part of the cargo, of the stores or appurtenances of the vessel; steering a false course; unnecessary borrowing and pledging as security the vessel itself, or the stores or fixtures thereof, the mortgage or sale of goods or stores, or entry in the accounts of fictitious damages or expenditures; sale of the vessel without special authorization, except in the case of unseaworthiness; discharge of cargo without previous report, except in the case of imminent peril; theft committed on board; adulteration of stores or goods committed on board by the admixture of deleterious substances; attack upon, or forcible and violent resistance to, the captain by more than one-third of the crew; refusal to obey the orders of the captain or officer in command, for the safety of the vessel or cargo, with blows and wounds; plotting against the safety, the liberty or the authority of the captain; seizure of the vessel by the seamen or passengers by fraud or violence toward the captain.
- For receiving and concealment of goods obtained by means of any of the crimes or offenses provided for by this law.
The attempt, when punishable according to the penal laws, is included in the foregoing.
Art. 2. Nevertheless, when the crime or the offense giving rise to the demand for extradition shall have been committed outside of the territory of the party making the demand, the government may surrender, on condition of reciprocity, a foreigner who is under prosecution or sentence, in cases in which the Belgian law authorizes prosecution for the same offenses committed outside of the kingdom.
Art. 3. Extradition shall be granted on the production of the original or of an authenticated copy of the sentence or writ of condemnation, or of the order of the council chamber, of the order of the chamber of indictments, or of the writ of criminal procedure, issued by a competent judge, formally decreeing the transfer of the accused to repressive jurisdiction.
It shall likewise be granted on the production of the warrant of arrest, or of any other instrument having the same force, issued by the competent authority in a foreign country, provided such instruments contain a precise statement of the offense for which they were issued, and that they be rendered executory by the council chamber of the court of first instance of the foreigner’s place of residence in Belgium, or of the place where he may have been found.
As soon as a foreigner shall have been imprisoned, according to one of the above-mentioned instruments, of the nature of which he shall be duly informed, the government shall receive the opinion of the chamber of indictments of the court of appeals in whose jurisdiction the foreigner shall have been arrested.
The hearing shall be public, unless the foreigner shall request that it may be conducted with closed doors.
The public ministry and the foreigner shall be heard. The latter may enjoy the benefit of counsel.
Within a fortnight after the reception of the documents, they shall be referred, with an opinion for which the grounds shall be stated, to the minister of justice.
Art. 4. Extradition by way of transit across Belgian territory may, nevertheless, be granted without having received the opinion of the chamber of indictments, on the simple production of the original or of an authenticated copy of one of the instruments of procedure mentioned in the foregoing article, when it shall have been requested for a state with which Belgium has a treaty comprising the offense which gives rise to the demand for extradition, and when it shall not be interdicted by article 6 of the law of October 1, 1833, and article 7 of this law.
Art. 5. In an urgent case, a foreigner may be arrested, provisionally, in Belgium for any of the offenses mentioned in article 1, on the exhibition of a warrant of arrest issued by the examining magistrate of his place of residence or of the place where he may be found, and based upon an official notice given to the Belgian authorities by the authorities of the country in which the foreigner shall have been sentenced or prosecuted.
Nevertheless, in such a case, he shall be set at liberty if, within fifteen days from the time of his arrest, when such arrest shall have been made at the request of the government of a country bordering on Belgium, and within three weeks, if at the request of the government of a distant country, no communication is received of the warrant of arrest issued by the competent foreign authorities.
This delay may be extended to three months if the country making the demand for extradition is not in Europe.
Alter the order of arrest the examining magistrate is authorized to proceed according to the rules prescribed by articles 87 to 90 of the code of criminal examination.[Page 58]
A foreigner may claim provisional liberty in cases in which a Belgian would enjoy such liberty, and on the same conditions. The request shall be submitted to the council chamber.
The council chamber shall likewise decide, after having heard the foreigner, whether it is or is not proper to transmit, either in whole or in part, the papers and other objects seized, to the government making the demand for extradition. It shall order the restoration of the papers and other objects having no direct connection with the offense with which the accused is charged, and, the case arising, shall decide upon the claims of third parties appearing as claimants.
Art. 6. Treaties concluded in virtue of this law shall be published in the Moniteur; they cannot be put into execution until after the expiration of ten days from the date of that journal.
Art. 7. Extradition cannot be granted, if, since the commission of the act with which the prisoner stands charged, or since his prosecution or sentence, such a length of time has elapsed that the term of his liability to punishment has, according to the laws of Belgium, expired by limitation.
Art. 8. Articles 2 and 3 of the law of December 30, 1836, concerning the repression of crimes and offenses committed by Belgians in foreign countries, are applicable to the offenses provided for by article 1 of this law.
Art. 9. They are likewise applicable to infractions in rural matters and in matters of forestry and fishing.
Art. 10. A foreigner who, after having committed, outside of the territory of the kingdom, one of the offenses provided for by article 1 of the law of December 30, 1836, and by articles 1 and 9 of this law, shall acquire or recover the character of a Belgian subject, may, if he be in Belgium, be prosecuted, tried, and punished there according to the laws of the kingdom, within the limits fixed by the said law of December 30, 1836.
Art. 11. Letters rogatory, issued by the competent authorities of a foreign country, and requesting either a domiciliary visit or the seizure of the corpus delicti, or of objects which will establish the guilt of the accused, can only be executed in Belgium for one of the acts enumerated in article 1 of this law.
Except in the case provided for by article 5, such letters shall first be rendered executory by the council chamber of the tribunal of first instance of the place where the search and seizure are to be made.
The council chamber shall likewise decide whether it is proper to transmit, in whole or in part, the papers and other articles seized to the government making the demand.
It shall order the restoration of the papers or other articles having no direct connection with the offense with which the accused stands charged, and shall decide the case arising upon the claim of any third parties who may appear as claimants.
Art. 12. The law of April 5, 1868, that of June 1, 1870, together with all the provisions of the law of October 1, 1833, with the exception of article 6, are hereby repealed.
The words “according to the laws of April 5, 1868, and of June 1, 1870,” shall be stricken out of article 1 of the law of July 17, 1871, in relation to foreigners.
We promulgate this law, and order that the seal of the state be affixed to it, and that it be published in the Moniteur.
By the King:
T. de Lantsheere,
Minister of Justice.
Sealed with the seal of the state.
Minister of Justice,