Re Janssens

JurisdicciónVenezuela
EmisorSupreme Court (Venezuela)
Número de expedienteCase No. 84
Venezuela, Supreme Court.
Case No. 84
In re Janssens.

Extradition — Conditions of — Extraditable Offences — Criminal Nature of the Act according to the Law of the Requested State — The Law of Venezuela.

The Facts.—The Belgian Government requested the extradition of Frederick Joseph Jean Albert Janssens, a Belgian subject convicted in the City of Brussels of the crime of abuse of confidence and currently detained in the city of Caracas, Venezuela. The conviction, which carried a sentence of two years' imprisonment and other accessory penalties, was for tax evasion and “for having fraudulently converted, or dissipated, to the detriment of Marcele Paquot, a widow, the sum of 330,000 francs which she had delivered to him on condition that it should be returned, or invested as directed by her”. The request was based upon Article 2, paragraph 9, of the Extradition Treaty entered into between Venezuela and Belgium on March 13, 1884, which lists “abuse of confidence” as an extraditable offence.

The defence was that the conviction was improper, since the alleged abuse of confidence was a civil matter which had been settled on the basis of a gradual payment of the debt contracted. The Court itself raised the issue whether extradition could properly be granted, since “abuse of confidence” was not specifically classified as a crime in the Penal Code of Venezuela.

Held: that extradition should be authorized. The Court said:

“Paragraph 6 of Article 20 of the Venezuelan Penal Code adopts the principle of identity of the norm as a basis for the granting of extradition. While ‘abuse of confidence’ is not classified as a crime among us, the factual situation which characterizes this crime is classified in our law under the label ‘misappropriation’. Therefore, it must be concluded that it refers to the same criminal offence; and this explains the fact that ‘abuse of confidence’ has been included as a ground for extradition in several treaties entered into by the Republic of Venezuela.”

The Court also found that the formal requirements had been complied with, and stated: “It is settled law in this Court that the issues raised by the interested party on the merits are beyond its powers to decide, since final judgment on these matters should properly be rendered by the courts of the demanding country”.

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