Extradition of López Saravia

EmisorSupreme Court (Honduras)
Honduras, Supreme Court.
Re Extradition of López Saravia.

Extradition — Of Nationals — The Law of Honduras.

The Facts.—In 1955 the defendant, Atanasio López Saravia, while in the Republic of El Salvador committed the crime of homicide and then fled to Honduras. The District Court of El Salvador, after due investigation and questioning of eye witnesses, filed a petition with the Honduras Supreme Court for extradition of the accused to stand trial in El Salvador. The accused was arrested in Honduras in 1956 and was given ten days in which to file an answer with the single Supreme Court Judge appointed to hear his plea against extradition in first instance. From the answer, it was learned that the accused was a national of Honduras, as was proved by production of a birth certificate, and extradition was refused. The decision of the trial Judge was based principally on the ground that it was not obligatory to extradite a national of one's own country, but that the trial should be held in the competent national court, based on the information and documents received from the foreign court. Extradition was not obligatory under either national or international law (specifically, the Bustamante Code of Private International Law).

On appeal to the full Supreme Court,

Held: that the decision of the Judge of first instance must be affirmed.

The Court said: “After due consultation of the judgment rendered in first instance, under date of January 8 of the present year, in which extradition of the accused, Atanasio López Saravia, is refused …

“The above judgment was based on the following considerations: (a)‘That the accused Atanasio López Saravia has accredited his status as a native of Honduras by certification of his birth registration, issued by the Secretary of the Ministry of the Villa de Goascaren, Department of Valle,’ and (b) ‘that according to the provisions of Article 345 of the Bustamante Code, the contracting parties are not compelled to deliver their own nationals, but rather to try them in their own competent courts.’

“The extradition of the accused, Atanasio López Saravia, having been refused, and the trial judgment being correct, it is proper to uphold it …”