International Legal Affairs Unit (ILA)
The International Legal Affairs Unit (“ILA”) is tasked to advise the Government of Belize and associated agencies on legal matters that have international law components, both private and public.
Functions & Responsibilities
The following functions and responsibilities fall within the remit of the ILA Unit:
- Execution of Mutual Legal Assistance Request;
- Execution of Prison Transfer;
- Execution of Extradition Request;
- Review international legal instruments either in force or in negotiation whether in draft form or proposals;and
- Represent the Ministry on various Committees/Commission.
Mutual Legal Assistance Request
Mutual legal assistance requests are guided by the Belize Mutual Legal Assistance and International Co-operation Act, 2014, (“the Act”). The Act provides that mutual legal assistance maybe provided to any foreign State whether on the basis of a treaty or not. The Attorney General is designated as the Central Authority under the Act. The Central Authority reviews these mutual legal assistance requests to ensure there are in compliance with the conditions set out in the Act.
Mutual Legal Assistance Request from the United States of America
Belize is a party to a treaty between the Government of Belize and the Government of the United States of America on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matter (“the Treaty”) signed on September 19, 2000 and ratified on January 8, 2001. This Treaty was incorporated in Belize by virtue of the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (Belize/USA) Act, Chapter 103.01 of the Substantive Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2011.
Prison Transfer Request
Prison transfer request is governed by the Inter-American Convention on Serving Criminal Sentences Abroad. Prison transfer request is when a national of a state wants to serve sentenced imposed in another State in the State of which he or she is a national. Prison transfer request involves a tripartite process. When a prison transfer request arises, it must have the consent of the sentencing State, the receiving State and the sentenced person. Where there fails to be a general consensus by the three parties, a prison transfer request cannot be executed. The Attorney General is the Central Authority under this Convention.
Prison Transfer Request from Mexico
Belize is a party to an Agreement between Belize and the United Mexican States on the Execution of Penal Sentences (“the Agreement”) signed on November 18, 1986. The Agreement was incorporated in Belize by virtue of the Exchange of Offenders (Belize/Mexico) Act on July 14, 1987.
Extradition is governed by the Belize Extradition Act, Chapter 112 of the Substantive Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2011. Extradition is the formal process in which one State surrenders a person to another State for prosecution or punishment for crimes committed in the requesting state.