Transparency International

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from one of Transparency International’s national chapters. The Anti-Corruption Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International and funded by the European Union


  • Does a country’s failure to use UNCAC as a legal basis for extradition hinder extradition?
  • How many countries have declared that they would not use UNCAC as the legal basis for extradition when they ratified or acceded to the convention? How many others limited its use by, for example, saying they would use it only in case of reciprocity?
  • Is it helpful for a country to use UNCAC as a legal basis for extradition?


  1. Background
  2. UNCAC as a legal basis for extradition
  3. Key principles in extradition cooperation
  4. Conclusion
  5. References


The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) provides minimum standards for extradition related to corruption offences and is the most useful treaty due to its broad coverage of corruption offences and the fact that 183 out of 193 UN member states are party to it. Legally binding treaties between the requesting state and the requested state are the firmest basis of a successful extradition. These treaties may be global, regional or bilateral. Where there is no extradition treaty to which both states are party, letters rogatory may still provide a basis for extradition.    

While the vast majority of UNCAC’s 183 state parties have affirmed that they can use the convention as a legal basis for extradition, a total of 19 countries have excluded that option. At least two of those appear to be reconsidering their position. In practice, however, only a few successful extradition procedures that invoked the convention have been reported so far. Seven countries have mentioned incoming or outgoing extradition cases in which the convention was invoked, while one country reported that the execution of an incoming extradition request was partly based on the convention, partly on a bilateral treaty.  

Overall, there are few extradition cases linked to corruption offences. The limited and fragmented data available from the first cycle of UNCAC implementation reviews does not support detailed analysis of these cases, and under what circumstances and with what impact UNCAC was invoked.


Mathias Huter, [email protected]   


Adam Foldes, Transparency International, [email protected]  




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