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Building International Cases: Tools for Successful Investigations

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 68 Issue: 12 Dated: December 1999 Pages: 1-5
Stephen P. Cutler
Date Published
5 pages
This article discusses how law enforcement officers can gather evidence abroad to bring international criminals to justice.
Language problems top the list of the many obstacles to U.S. investigations abroad, with organizational differences among law enforcement agencies a close second. Limitations in U.S. laws and international laws that differ among countries also create difficulties. Methods available to gather evidence abroad include: (1) police-to-police assistance involving a request through the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) or through the U.S. agency's representative in the U.S. embassy; (2) mutual assistance through another country's compulsory process, which requires the local prosecutor's active involvement; (3) multilateral treaties or conventions, which bind the countries that ratify them; (4) letters rogatory, where a court requests that a court in another country use its compulsory process to obtain evidence; (5) executive agreements; and (6) extradition, a formal process governed by treaty.