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[Senate Treaty Document 105-34]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]




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105th Congress                                              Treaty Doc.
2d Session                       SENATE                       105-34
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   TREATY WITH LATVIA ON MUTUAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE IN CRIMINAL MATTER

                               __________

                                MESSAGE

                                  from

                   THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

                              transmitting

TREATY BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE REPUBLIC OF LATVIA 
ON MUTUAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE IN CRIMINAL MATTERS, SIGNED AT WASHINGTON ON 
                             JUNE 13, 1997





 January 28, 1998.--Treaty was read the first time and, together with 
the accompanying papers, referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations 
          and ordered to be printed for the use of the Senate


                              ----------

                    U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE

59-118                     WASHINGTON : 1998



                         LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL

                             ----------                             

                                 The White House, January 28, 1998.
To the Senate of the United States:
    With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the 
Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith the Treaty Between 
the United States of America and the Republic of Latvia on 
Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, signed at 
Washington on June 13, 1997. I transmit also, for the 
information of the Senate, an exchange of notes that was signed 
the same date as the Treaty and that provides for its 
provisional application, as well as the report of the 
Department of State with respect to the Treaty.
    The Treaty is one of a series of modern mutual legal 
assistance treaties being negotiated by the United States in 
order to counter criminal activities more effectively. The 
Treaty should be an effective tool to assist in the prosecution 
of a wide variety of crimes, including drug trafficking 
offenses. The Treaty is self-executing. The Treaty provides for 
a broad range of cooperation in criminal matters. Mutual 
assistance available under the Treaty includes: taking of 
testimony or statements of persons; providing documents, 
records, and articles of evidence; serving documents; locating 
or identifying person; transferring persons in custody for 
testimony or other purposes; executing requests for searches 
and seizures; assisting in proceedings related to restraint, 
confiscation, forfeiture of assets, restitution, and collection 
of fines; and any other form of assistance not prohibited by 
the laws of the Requested State.
    I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable 
consideration to the Treaty and give its advice and consent to 
ratification.

                                              William J. Clinton.  



                          LETTER OF SUBMITTAL

                              ----------                              

                                       Department of State,
                                     Washington, December 30, 1997.
The President,
The White House.
    The President: I have the honor to submit to you the Treaty 
Between United States of America and the Republic of Latvia on 
Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (``the Treaty''), 
signed at Washington on June 13, 1997. I recommend that the 
Treaty be transmitted to the Senate for its advice and consent 
to ratification.
    Also enclosed, for the information of the Senate, is an 
exchange of notes done at the time of signature of the Treaty. 
After consultation with Senate staff, the United States 
proposed and Latvia agreed to provisionally apply the terms of 
the Treaty, to the extent possible under our respective 
domestic laws, in order to provide a basis for immediate mutual 
assistance in criminal matters. Provisional application would 
cease upon entry into force of the Treaty.
    The Treaty covers mutual legal assistance in criminal 
matters. In recent years, similar bilateral treaties 
haveentered into force with a number of other countries. The Treaty 
with Latvia contains all essential provisions sought by the United 
States. It will enhance our ability to investigate and prosecute a 
range of offenses. The Treaty is designed to be self-executing and will 
not require new legislation.
    Article 1 sets forth a non-exclusive list of the major 
types of assistance to be provided under the Treaty, including 
taking the testimony or statements of persons; providing 
documents, records and other items of evidence; serving 
documents; locating or identifying persons; transferring 
persons in custody for testimony or other purposes; executing 
requests for searches and seizures; assisting in proceedings 
related to restraint, confiscation, forfeiture of assets, 
restitution, and collection of fines; and rendering any other 
form of assistance not prohibited by the laws of the Requested 
State. The scope of the Treaty includes not only criminal 
offenses, but also proceedings related to criminal matters, 
which may be civil or administrative in nature.
    Article 1(3) states that assistance shall be provided 
without regard to whether the conduct involved would constitute 
an offense under the laws of the Requested State.
    Article 1(4) states explicitly that the Treaty is not 
intended to create rights in private parties to obtain, 
suppress, or exclude any evidence, or to impede the execution 
of a request.
    Article 2 provides for the establishment of Central 
Authorities and defines Central Authorities for purposes of the 
Treaty. For the United States, the Central Authority is the 
Attorney General or a person designated by the Attorney 
General. For Latvia, the Central Authority is the Prosecutor 
General or a person designated by the Prosecutor General. The 
article provides that the Central Authorities shall communicate 
directly with one another for the purposes of the Treaty. 
Article 3 sets forth the circumstances under which a Requested 
State's Central Authority may deny assistance under the Treaty. 
A request may be denied if it relates to a military offense 
that would not be an offense under ordinary criminal law. A 
further ground for denial is that the request relates to a 
political offense (a term expected to be defined on the basis 
of that term's usage in extradition treaties). In addition, a 
request may be denied if its execution would prejudice the 
security or similar essential interests of the Requested State, 
or if it is not made in conformity with the Treaty.
    Before denying assistance under Article 3, the Central 
Authority of the Requested State is required to consult with 
its counterpart in the Requesting State to consider whether 
assistance can be given subject to such conditions as the 
Central Authority of the Requested State deems necessary.If the 
Requesting State accepts assistance subject to these conditions, it is 
required to comply with the conditions. If the Central Authority of the 
Requesting State denies assistance, it is required to inform the 
Central Authority of the Requesting State of the reasons for the 
denial.
    Article 4 prescribes the form and content of written 
requests under the Treaty, specifying in detail the information 
required in each request. The article permits other forms of 
requests in emergency situations but requires written 
confirmation within ten days thereafter unless the Central 
Authority of the Requesting State agrees otherwise.
    Article 5 requires the Central Authority of the Requesting 
State to execute the request promptly or to transmit it to the 
authority having jurisdiction to do so. It provides that the 
competent authorities of the Requesting State shall do 
everything in their power to execute a request, and that the 
courts or other competent authorities of the Requesting State 
shall have authority to issue subpoenas, search warrants, or 
other orders necessary to execute the request. The Central 
Authority of the Requesting State must make all arrangements 
for and meet the costs of representation of the Requesting 
State in any proceedings arising out of an assistance request.
    Under Article 5(3), requesters are to be executed in 
accordance with the laws of the Requesting State except to the 
extent that the Treaty provides otherwise. However, the method 
of execution specified in the request is to be followed except 
insofar as it is prohibited by the laws of the Requesting 
State. Article 5(4) provides that if the Central Authority of 
the Requesting State determines that execution of the request 
would interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation, 
prosecution, or proceeding in that State, it may postpone 
execution or, after consulting with the Central Authority of 
the Requesting State, impose conditions on execution. If the 
Requesting State accepts assistance subject to conditions, it 
shall comply with them.
    Article 5(5) further requires the Requesting State, if so 
requested, to use its best efforts to keep confidential a 
request and its contents, and to inform the Requesting State's 
Central Authority if the request cannot be executed without 
breaching confidentiality. This provides the Requesting State 
an opportunity to decide whether to pursue the request or to 
withdraw it in order to maintain confidentiality.
    This article additionally requires the Requesting State's 
Central Authority to respond to reasonable inquiries by the 
Requesting State's Central Authority regarding the status of 
the execution of a particular request; to report promptly to 
the Requesting State's Central Authority the outcome of its 
execution; and, if the request is denied, to inform the 
Requesting State's Central Authority of the reasons for the 
denial.
    Article 6 apportions between the two States the costs 
incurred in executing a request. It provides that the Requested 
State shall pay all costs, except for the following items to be 
paid by the Requesting State: fees of expert witnesses, costs 
of translation, interpretation, and transcription, and 
allowances and expenses related to travel of persons pursuant 
to Articles 10 and 11.
    Article 7 requires the Requesting State to comply with any 
request by the Central Authority of the Requested State that 
information or evidence obtained under the Treaty not be used 
for proceedings other than those described in the request 
without its prior consent. Further, if the Requested State's 
Central Authority asks that information or evidence furnished 
under this Treaty be kept confidential or be used in accordance 
with specified conditions, the Requesting State must use its 
best efforts to comply with the conditions. Once information is 
made public in the Requesting State in accordance with either 
of these provisions, no further limitations on use apply. 
Nothing in the article prevents the use or disclosure of 
information to the extent that there is an obligation to do so 
under the Constitution of the Requesting State in a criminal 
prosecution. The Requesting State is obliged to notify the 
Requested State in advance of any such proposed use or 
disclosure.
    Article 8 provides that a person in the Requested State 
from whom testimony or evidence is requested pursuant to the 
Treaty shall be compelled, if necessary, to appear and testify 
or produce items and articles of evidence. The article requires 
the Central Authority of the Requested State, upon request, to 
furnish information in advance about the date and place of the 
taking of testimony or evidence pursuant to this Article.
    Article 8(3) further requires the Requested State to permit 
the presence of persons specified in the request and to permit 
them to question the person giving the testimony or evidence. 
In the event that a person whose testimony or evidence is being 
taken asserts a claim of immunity, incapacity, or privilege 
under the laws of the Requesting State, Article 8(4) provides 
that the testimony or evidence shall be taken and the claim 
made known to the Central Authority of the Requesting State for 
resolution by its authorities. Finally, in order to ensure 
admissibility in evidence in the Requesting State, Article 8(5) 
provides a mechanism for authenticating evidence that is 
produced pursuant to or that is the subject of testimony taken 
in the Requested State.
    Article 9 requires that the Requested State provide the 
Requesting State with copies of publicly available records in 
the possession of government departments and agencies in the 
Requested State. The Requested State may furtherprovide copies 
of any documents, records or information in the possession of a 
government department or agency, but not publicly available, to the 
same extent and under the same conditions as it would provide them to 
its own law enforcement or judicial authorities. The Requested State 
has the discretion to deny such requests pursuant to this paragraph, 
entirely or in part, Article 9(3) provides that records produced 
pursuant to this Article shall, upon request, and without cost to the 
Requesting State, be authenticated under the provisions of the 
Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign 
Public Documents, dated October 5, 1961. The absence or non-existence 
of such records shall, upon request, be certified by an official 
responsible for maintaining them through the use of Form C. Article 
9(3) also provides that no further authentication shall be necessary 
for admissibility into evidence in the Requesting State of official 
records pursuant to this article where the official in charge of 
maintaining them authenticates the records through the use of Form C 
appended to this Treaty.
    Article 10 provides a mechanism for the Requesting State to 
invite the voluntary appearance in its territory of a person 
located in the Requested State or in a third State. The 
Requesting State shall indicate the extent to which the 
expenses will be paid. It also states that the Central 
Authority of the Requesting State has discretion to determine 
that a person appearing in the Requesting State pursuant to 
this Article shall not be subject to service of process or be 
detained or subjected to any restriction of personal liberty by 
reason of any acts or convictions that preceded his departure 
from the Requested State. Any safe conduct provided for by this 
article ceases seven days after the Central Authority of the 
Requested States that the person's presence is no longer 
required, or if the person has left the Requesting State and 
voluntarily returns to it.
    Article 11 provides for temporary transfer of a person in 
custody in the Requested State or in a third State to the 
Requesting State for purposes of assistance under the Treaty 
(for example, a witness incarcerated in the Requested State may 
be transferred to have his deposition taken in the presence of 
the defendant), provided that the person in question and the 
Central Authorities of both States agree. The article also 
provides for voluntary transfer of a person in the custody of 
the Requesting State to the Requested State for purposes of 
assistance under the Treaty (for example, a defendant in the 
Requesting State may be transferred for purposes of attending a 
witness deposition in the Requested State), if the person 
consents and if the Central Authorities of both States agree.
    Article 11(e) further establishes both the express 
authority and the obligation of the receiving State tomaintain 
the person transferred in custody unless otherwise agreed by both 
Central Authorities. The return of the person transferred is subject to 
terms and conditions agreed to by the Central Authorities, and the 
sending State is not required to initiate extradition proceedings for 
return of the person transferred. The person transferred receives 
credit for time served in the custody of the receiving State. Where the 
receiving State is a third State, the Requesting State shall make all 
arrangements necessary to meet the requirements of this paragraph.
    Article 12 establishes the authority of the Requested State 
to authorize transit through its territory of a person held in 
custody by a third State whose appearance has been requested by 
the Requesting State. The Requested State further has the 
authority and the obligation to keep the person in custody 
during transit. The Parties retain discretion to refuse to 
grant transit of their own nationals, however.
    Article 13 requires the Requested State to use its best 
efforts to ascertain the location or identity of persons or 
items specified in a request.
    Article 14 obligates the Requested State to use its best 
efforts to effect service of any document relating, in whole or 
in part, to any request for assistance under the Treaty. A 
request for the service of a document requiring a person to 
appear in the Requesting State must be transmitted a reasonable 
time before the scheduled appearance. Proof of service is to be 
provided in the manner specified in the request.
    Article 15 obligates the Requested State to execute 
requests for search, seizure, and delivery of any item to the 
Requesting State if the request includes the information 
justifying such action under the laws of the Requested State. 
It provides that, upon request, every official who has custody 
of a seized item is required to certify, through the use of 
Form D appended to the Treaty, the continuity of custody, the 
identity of the item, and any changes in its condition. No 
further certification is required. The certificate is 
admissible in evidence in the Requesting State. The article 
further provides that the Central Authority of the Requested 
State may impose terms and conditions deemed necessary to 
protect bona fide third party interests in items to be 
transferred.
    Article 16 requires the Requesting State's Central 
Authority, upon request of its counterpart in the Requested 
State, to return any items, including documents and records, 
furnished to it in execution of a request as soon as possible.
    Article 17 provides that, if the Central Authority of one 
Party becomes aware of proceeds or instrumentalities of 
offenses that are located in the other Party and may be 
forfeitable or otherwise subject to seizure under the lawsof 
that Party, it may so inform the Central Authority of the other Party. 
If the Party receiving such information has jurisdiction in this 
regard, it may present this information to its authorities for a 
determination whether any action is appropriate. The Central Authority 
of the Party receiving such information is required to inform the 
Central Authority that provided the information of any action taken.
    Article 17 also obligates the Parties to assist each other 
to the extent permitted by their respective laws in proceedings 
relating to forfeiture of the proceeds and instrumentalities of 
offenses, restitution to victims of crime, and collection of 
fines imposed as sentences in criminal prosecutions. This may 
include action to temporarily immobilize the proceeds or 
instrumentalities pending further proceedings. The Party having 
custody over proceeds or instrumentalities of offenses is 
required to dispose of them in accordance with its laws. Either 
party may transfer all or part of such assets, or the proceeds 
of their sale, to the extent permitted by the transferring 
party's laws and upon such terms as it deems appropriate.
    Article 18 states that assistance and procedures provided 
in the Treaty shall not prevent either Contracting Party from 
granting assistance to the other Party through the provisions 
of other applicable international agreements or through the 
provisions of its national laws. The Parties may also provide 
assistance pursuant to any bilateral arrangement, agreement, or 
practice which may be applicable.
    Article 19 provides that the Central Authorities shall 
consult, at times mutually agreed, to promote the most 
effective use of the Treaty, and may agree upon such practical 
measures as may be necessary to facilitate the Treaty's 
implementation.
    Article 20 provides that the Treaty is subject to 
ratification and the instruments shall be exchanged as soon as 
possible. The Treaty enters into force upon the exchange of 
instruments of ratification. Article 20 further provides that 
either party may terminate the Treaty by written notice to the 
other party, termination to be effective six months following 
the date of notification.
    A Technical Analysis explaining in detail the provisions of 
the Treaty is being prepared by the United States negotiating 
delegation, consisting of representatives from the Departments 
of Justice and State, and will be transmitted separately to the 
Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
    The Department of Justice joins the Department of State in 
favoring approval of this Treaty by the Senate as soon as 
possible.
    Respectfully submitted,
                                                   Strobe Talbot.