(Capsule Vocabularies) Extradition: Spanish-English Terminology and Concepts

As is often the case, while searching for something else I ran across an insightful article on extradition from ThoughtCo. Since this is a topic I’ve researched in the past, I’m offering below some of the essential Spanish terms and concepts concerning extradition (in general, and between EU countries) with possible English translations.

  • tratado de extradición–extradition treaty
  • Convenio relativo a la extradición entre los Estados miembros de la Unión Europea–Convention relating to Extradition between the Member States of the European Union
  • petición de extradición–extradition request
  • Decisión marco relativa a la orden de detención europeaFramework Decision on the European Arrest Warrant
  • orden europea de detención y entrega (“euroorden”)European arrest warrant (EAW)
  • sujeto/personas extraditables–extraditable persons
  • sujetos extraditados; personas extraditadas–extradited persons
  • estado requirente–requesting state
  • estado requerido–requested/extraditing/surrendering state
  • extradición activa–request for extradition; import extradition (E&W); seeking the extradition of an alleged offender from another jurisdiction
  • extradición pasiva–receipt of an extradition request; export extradition (E&W); extradition of an alleged offender to another jurisdiction
  • extradición en tránsito–transit extradition
  • extradición legal–extradition governed by domestic law
  • extradición convencional–extradition governed by international treaty
  • reextradición–reextradition
  • principio de legalidad–legality principle (requirement that there be a treaty or law that allows extradition)
  • principio de reciprocidad–reciprocity principle
  • principio de la doble incriminación–dual criminality principle; rule of dual criminality (principle that allows a state to refuse to extradite if the alleged crime on which extradition is based does not constitute an offense in both the requesting and extraditing states)
  • principio de especialidad–speciality principle; rule of speciality (principle that a person who has been extradited may only be prosecuted for the offense alleged in the extradition request)
  • principio de la no entrega por delitos de carácter político y militar–principle of refusing to extradite for political or military offenses
  • principio de la no entrega por delitos no perseguibles de oficio–principle of refusing to extradite for private crimes for which there is no mandatory prosecution in the extraditing state
  • principio de la no entrega por delitos leves–principle of refusing to extradite for misdemeanors
  • principio de non/ne bis in idem–rule against double jeopardy
  • principio de no entrega de los nacionales–principle of refusing to extradite one’s own citizens for trial in a foreign country

Impossible-to-Translate Criminal Law Terms: tipicidad; antijuricidad; culpabilidad; punibilidad

tipicidad; antijuricidad; culpabilidad; punibilidad

These criminal theory terms often appear to elude translation since they are not familiar concepts in Anglo-American law. Briefly, the Spanish system for determining criminal liability follows the tripartite German model and is accomplished in three successive steps. First the tipicidad of the act is established, i.e., a determination is made as to whether the alleged offender has fulfilled each element of the statutory definition of that specific offense (tipo penal). Among others, these include both the criminal act or actus reus element (tipo objetivo) and the mental or mens rea element (tipo subjetivo). The wrongfulness (antijuricidad) of the act is then assessed to determine whether the alleged offender’s act was wrongful (antijurídico, sometimes also translated as “unlawful”) and whether there are justification defenses (causas de justificación) that would render the act lawful. In a third step culpability or blameworthiness (culpabilidad) is examined to determine the alleged offender’s individual accountability for the offense and whether there are excuse defenses (causas de exculpación) which would exempt him from criminal liability. In Spain, a fourth element punibilidad (literally, “punishability”) is assessed to address individual cases in which certain offenders may be exempt from punishment.

It is often difficult to find suitable English translations for these four criminal law concepts, and I’ve found it helpful to turn to scholars who write about Spanish and German criminal law theory in English to see the terms they use. Here is a basic bibliography:

Bachmaier Winter, Lorena and Antonio del Moral García. Criminal Law in Spain. Alphen ann den Rijn: Kluwer Law International, 2010.

Bohlander, Michael. “Basic Concepts of German Criminal Procedure, An Introduction.” Durham Law Review Online, Vol. 1, 2011, pp. 1-26.

Bohlander, Michael. English translation of the German Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch). Saarbrücken: juris GmbH, 2010.

Bohlander, Michael. Principles of German Criminal Law. Portland: Hart Publishing, 2009.

Dubber, Markus Dirk. “Theories of Crime and Punishment in German Criminal Law.” The American Journal of Criminal Law, Vol. 53, No. 3 (2005), pp. 679-707.

Dubber, Markus Dirk. “The Promise of German Criminal Law: A Science of Crime and Punishment” German Law Review, Vol. 6, No. 7 (2005), pp. 1049-1071.

Fletcher, George P. Basic Concepts of Criminal Law. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Fletcher, George P. y Steve Sheppard. American Law in a Global Context: the Basics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Gómez Jara, Carlos and Luis E. Chiesa. “Spanish Criminal Law” in Kevin Jon Heller and Markus D. Dubber, eds. The Handbook of Comparative Criminal Law. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2009, pp. 488-530.

Hermida, Julián. “Convergence of Civil Law and Common Law in the Criminal Theory Realm.” University of Miami International & Comparative Law Review, Vol. 13 (2005-2006) pp. 163-232.

Naucke, Wolfgang. “An Insider’s Perspective on the Significance of the German Criminal Law Theory’s System for Analyzing Criminal Acts.” Brigham Young University Law Review (1984), pp. 305-321.

Naucke, Wolfgang. “Interpretation and Analogy in Criminal Law.” Brigham Young University Law Review, Vol. 3 (1986), pp. 535-551.

Weigend, Thomas. “Germany” in Kevin Jon Heller and Markus D. Dubber, eds. Handbook of Comparative Criminal Law. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2011, pp. 252-287.

Don’t confuse orden de entrada y registro with orden de registro de entrada

orden de entrada y registro; orden de registro de entrada

These expressions are admittedly confusingly similar, but couldn’t be more different in meaning. Orden de entrada y registro (often shortened to orden de registro) is a criminal law term, being the Spanish equivalent of a “search warrant” ordered by a judge incident to a criminal investigation. Although orden de registro is a commonly used expression, in Spain a search warrant must be issued in the form of an auto, and thus is more properly called an auto de entrada y registro.

In contrast orden de registro de entrada denotes the order in which an application or other document has been filed for entry on an public register and is often important for establishing prior rights in many legal transactions. The “first to file” system is characteristic of many official registers governed by the prior in tempore, potior in jure principle. This idea of “earlier in time, stronger in right” implies that earlier applicants (the first to file their applications) will have superior (prior) rights with respect to those who do so later. For example, in the context of registering a trademark, the first application received (and subsequently granted registration) at the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (Oficina Española de Patentes y Marcas) will have exclusive rights to use that mark.

Intellectual property and other rights can be based on the “first to use” principle or the “first to file” principle.” In “first to file” systems such as in Spain and most civil law countries, regardless of prior use the first person to file an application and to be granted registration will be considered as the legal owner to the exclusion of all others. Thus the order in which applications are received at public registries or in other governmental agencies is often of paramount importance. Registro de entrada denotes a daily register of applications filed, and orden de registro de entrada is the order in which a given application was received, generally based on a date, time and an application number. Thus the expression riguroso orden de registro de entrada de las solicitudes is often used to indicate that applications will be considered “strictly in the order in which they were filed.”