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[Senate Treaty Document 106-40]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



106th Congress                                              Treaty Doc.
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                      106-40

_______________________________________________________________________

                                     



 
      TREATY WITH COSTA RICA FOR RETURN OF VEHICLES AND AIRCRAFT

                               __________

                                MESSAGE

                                  from

                   THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

                              transmitting

 TREATY BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE 
  GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF COSTA RICA FOR THE RETURN OF STOLEN, 
 EMBEZZLED, OR APPROPRIATED VEHICLES AND AIRCRAFT, WITH ANNEXES AND A 
     RELATED EXCHANGE OF NOTES, SIGNED AT SAN JOSE ON JULY 2, 1999




 September 5, 2000.--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
79-188                      WASHINGTON : 2000



                         LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL

                              ----------                              

                                The White House, September 5, 2000.
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 Government of the United States of America and the 
Government of the Republic of Costa Rica for the Return of 
Stolen, Embezzled, or Appropriated Vehicles and Aircraft, with 
Annexes and a related exchange of notes, signed at San Jose on 
July 2, 1999. I transmit also, for the information of the 
Senate, the report of the Department of State with respect to 
the Treaty.
    The Treaty is one of a series of stolen vehicle treaties 
being negotiated by the United States in order to eliminate the 
difficulties faced by owners of vehicles that have been stolen 
and transported across international borders. Like several in 
this series, this Treaty also covers aircraft. When it enters 
into force, this Treaty will be an effective tool to facilitate 
the return of U.S. vehicles and aircraft that have been stolen, 
embezzled, or appropriated and taken to Costa Rica.
    I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable 
consideration to the Treaty, with Annexes and a related 
exchange of notes, and give its advice and consent to 
ratification.

                                                William J. Clinton.
                          LETTER OF SUBMITTAL

                              ----------                              

                                       Department of State,
                                         Washington, July 22, 2000.
The President,
The White House.
    The President: I have the honor to submit to you the Treaty 
between the Government of the United States of America and the 
Government of the Republic of Costa Rica for the Return of 
Stolen, Embezzled, or Appropriated Vehicles and Aircraft (the 
``Treaty''), with Annexes and a related exchange of notes, 
signed at San Jose on July 2, 1999. I recommend that the 
Treaty, with Annexes and related exchange of notes, be 
transmitted to the Senate for its advice and consent to 
ratification.
    The Treaty establishes procedures for the return by either 
Party of vehicles and aircraft that are registered, titled or 
otherwise documented in the territory of one Party; stolen, 
embezzled, or appropriated in the territory of that Party or 
from one of its nationals; and found in the territory of the 
other Party. The United States currently has only one such 
treaty in force, the 1981 Convention between the United States 
of America and the United Mexican States for the Recovery and 
Return of Stolen or Embezzled Vehicles and Aircraft (``U.S.-
Mexico Treaty''). The Treaty with Costa Rica is one of several 
treaties that have recently been negotiated with countries in 
Central America, the Caribbean, and Central Europe and contains 
many provisions similar to those in the 1981 U.S.-Mexico 
Treaty. At the same time, the Treaty with Costa Rica 
incorporates an important improvement in one aspect over the 
U.S.-Mexico Treaty in that it sets more restrictive deadlines 
for action by the Party receiving a request for the return of a 
vehicle or aircraft. As with the U.S.-Mexico Treaty, this 
Treaty will not require implementing legislation.
    Article 1 defines certain terms for purposes of the Treaty.
    Article 2 sets forth the agreement of the Parties, in 
accordance with the Treaty's terms, to return vehicles or 
aircraft that are registered, titled, or otherwise documented 
in the territory of one Party; stolen, embezzled or 
appropriated in the territory of that Party or from one of its 
nationals; and found in the territory of the other Party.
    Article 3 provides for the establishment of Central 
Authorities and designates Central Authorities to process 
requests made pursuant to the Treaty. For the United States, 
the Central Authority is the Secretary of State, or such 
persons designated by the Secretary of State. For the Republic 
of Costa Rica, the Central Authority is the Minister of Public 
Security, or such persons designated by the Minister of Public 
Security.
    Article 4 provides the Treaty's notification requirements. 
Article 4(1) requires that whenever the police, customs, or 
other authorities of a Party impound or seize a vehicle or 
aircraft and have information indicating that the vehicle or 
aircraft is registered, titled, or otherwise documented (or, in 
the case of aircraft, manufactured) in the territory of the 
other Party or from one of its nationals, the first Party 
shall, within 30 days of the impoundment or seizure, notify in 
writing the Central Authority of the other Party that its 
authorities have custody of the vehicle or aircraft. Article 
4(2) provides that, in the case of vehicles, such notifications 
shall include all available identifying information listed in 
Annex 1 appended to the Treaty. Article 4(3) provides that, in 
the case of aircraft, such notifications shall include all 
available identifying information listed in Annex 2 appended to 
the Treaty. These Annexes contain the information the Parties 
agreed would be sufficient to develop a reliable and complete 
identification of the vehicle or aircraft.
    Article 4(4) requires representatives of the Parties to 
meet periodically to review the operation and effectiveness of 
the Treaty and to exchange relevant information intended to 
facilitate the efficient implementation of the Treaty.
    Article 5 requires authorities who have impounded or seized 
a vehicle or aircraft, regarding which notification is required 
under Article 4, to take it toa storage area and to take 
reasonable steps to safeguard it, including the prevention of 
obliteration or modification of identifying information, such as 
vehicle identification numbers and aircraft registration or tail 
numbers. The article also prohibits such authorities from operating, 
auctioning, dismantling, or otherwise altering or disposing of the 
vehicle or aircraft unless one of several enumerated conditions is met, 
e.g., no request for the return of the vehicle or aircraft is received 
within 60 days of receipt of a notification made pursuant to Article 4.
    Article 6 prescribes the form and content of requests for 
return of vehicles and aircraft under the Treaty. Article 6(1) 
provides that after a Party has received a notification 
pursuant to Article 4, it may submit a request for the return 
of the vehicle or aircraft. Article 6(2) requires the request 
to be transmitted, under seal of the Central Authority of the 
Requesting Party, directly to a consular officer of the 
Requested Party and to follow the form appended in Annex 3 (for 
vehicles) or Annex 4 (for aircraft). Article 6(2) also requires 
the Requesting Party to transmit its request and accompanying 
documents simultaneously (via facsimile or other acceptable 
means) to the Central Authority of the Requested Party to 
enable that Central Authority to begin its review pending the 
arrival of the authenticated originals.
    In order for a request to be made, the Central Authority of 
the Requesting State must first receive certified copies of 
documents listed in Article 6(3) (for vehicles) or Article 6(4) 
(for aircraft). Once the necessary documents have been 
received, Article 6(5) requires that the request for return be 
accompanied by certified copies of the documents listed in 
Article 6(3) or Article 6(4), as applicable, as well as an 
appropriate translation. An exchange of notes accompanying the 
Treaty memorializes the understanding of the Parties that an 
``appropriate translation'' includes translations on printed 
forms, in the English and Spanish languages, with appropriate 
blanks to be filled in with the particular information relating 
to the vehicle or aircraft whose return is being requested. If 
the United States is the Requesting Party, the documents 
accompanying the request must be authenticated by a consular 
officer of Costa Rica in the United States. Such authentication 
must be provided expeditiously, and all fees must be waived.
    Under Article 7, a Party that has learned outside of the 
Article 4 notification process that the authorities of the 
other Party may have impounded, seized, or otherwise taken 
possession of a vehicle or aircraft that may be registered, 
titled, or otherwise documented (or, in the case of aircraft, 
manufactured) in the territory of the first Party, or that may 
have been stolen, embezzled, or appropriated in the territory 
of the first Party or from one of its nationals may, through a 
written communication to the Central Authority of the other 
Party, seek official confirmation of this and may request the 
other Party to provide notification pursuant to Article 4. If a 
notification is requested, the other Party must either provide 
the notification or explain, in writing, why notification is 
not required. The first Party may also, in appropriate cases, 
submit a request for the return of the vehicle or aircraft.
    Article 8 details the procedures for the Requested Party's 
review of a request. Article 8(1) requires the Requested Party 
to determine, within 30 days of receiving a request for the 
return of a stolen, embezzled, or appropriated vehicle or 
aircraft, whether the request meets the requirements of the 
Treaty and to notify the Central Authority of the Requesting 
Party of its determination. Article 8(2) requires the Requested 
Party, within 15 days of its determination that a request for 
return meets the requirements of the Treaty, to make the 
vehicle or aircraft available to the owner or the owner's 
authorized representative. The vehicle or aircraft must remain 
available for the owner or the owner's authorized 
representative to take delivery for 90 days. The Requested 
Party is also required to take necessary measures to permit the 
owner or the owner's authorized representative to take 
possession of the vehicle or aircraft and return with it to the 
territory of the Requesting Party. Where the Requested Party 
determines that a request for returndoes not meet the 
requirements of the Treaty, under Article 8(3) it must provide written 
notification to the Central Authority of the Requesting Party. Such 
notification must set forth the grounds for its determination and 
indicate a reasonable period of time in which the Requesting Party may 
correct any deficiencies in the request or appeal the basis for the 
denial.
    Article 9 sets forth several circumstances under which a 
Requested State either has no obligation to return a vehicle or 
aircraft for which return has been requested or can defer the 
surrender of the vehicle or aircraft. Article 9(1) provides 
that if a vehicle or aircraft whose return is requested is 
being held in connection with a criminal investigation or 
prosecution, its return will be effected when its presence is 
no longer required for that investigation or prosecution. 
However, the Requested Party is required to take all 
practicable measures to ensure that substitute pictorial or 
other evidence is used whenever possible in such investigation 
or prosecution so that the vehicle or aircraft may be returned 
as soon as possible.
    Article 9(2) states that nothing in the Treaty shall impair 
any rights of individuals under the laws of the Requested Party 
to seek, from appropriate judicial authorities in the territory 
of Requested Party, a determination regarding the ownership of 
a vehicle or aircraft for which return is requested. If such 
judicial action results in a decision to award the vehicle or 
aircraft to a person other than the person identified in the 
request for return as the owner of the vehicle or aircraft or 
the owner's authorized representative, the Requested State has 
no obligation to return the vehicle or aircraft under the 
Treaty. Otherwise, the return of the vehicle or aircraft must 
be effected at the conclusion of the judicial action.
    Article 9(3) provides that a Party will have no obligation 
to return a vehicle or aircraft for which return is requested 
if the vehicle or aircraft is subject to forfeiture under its 
laws because it was used in its territory for the commission of 
a crime with the consent or complicity of the owner, or 
represents the proceeds of such a crime. The Requested Party is 
required to give the owner or the owner's authorized 
representative reasonable notice and an opportunity to contest 
such forfeiture in accordance with its laws.
    Under Article 9(4), a Party will have no obligation to 
return a stolen, embezzled, or appropriated vehicle or aircraft 
if no request for return is received by a consular officer of 
the Requested Party in the territory of the Requesting Party 
within 60 days of receipt of a notification made pursuant to 
Article 4.
    Article 9(5) requires the Requested Party to notify the 
Central Authority of the Requesting Party in writing within 30 
days of receipt of a request for return if the return of a 
stolen, embezzled, or appropriated vehicle or aircraft is 
postponed pursuant to Article 9. The notification must set 
forth the grounds for postponement and an estimated reasonable 
period of time for the requested return.
    Under Article 9(6), a Party will have no obligation to 
return a stolen, embezzled, or appropriated vehicle or aircraft 
if no request for return is received within 10 years of the 
theft, embezzlement, or appropriation of the vehicle or 
aircraft.
    Article 9(7) provides that a Party will have no obligations 
to return a stolen, embezzled, or appropriated vehicle or 
aircraft if the person identified in the request for return as 
the owner or the owner's authorized representative fails to 
take possession of the vehicle or aircraft within 90 days after 
it has been made available as provided in Article 8(2).
    Article 10 addresses expenses associated with the return of 
vehicles and aircraft under the Treaty. Article 10(1) prohibits 
the Requested Party from imposing any import or export duties, 
taxes, fines, or other monetary penalties or charges on 
vehicles or aircraft returned in accordance with the Treaty, or 
on their owners or authorized representatives, as a condition 
for the return of such vehicles or aircraft. Article 10(2) 
provides that reasonable expenses incurred in the return, 
including towing costs, storagecosts, maintenance costs, 
transportation costs, and costs of translation of documents required 
under the Treaty will be borne by the person seeking the return and 
will be paid prior to the return of the vehicle or aircraft. Under 
Article 10(3), the expenses of return in particular cases may include 
the costs of any repairs or reconditioning of a vehicle or aircraft 
that were necessary to permit the vehicle or aircraft to be moved to a 
storage area or maintained in the condition in which it was found. 
However, the person seeking the return of the vehicle or aircraft will 
not be responsible for the costs of any other work performed on the 
vehicle or aircraft while it was in the custody of the authorities of 
the Requested Party.
    Article 10(4) provides that if the Requested Party complies 
with the provisions of the Treaty with respect to recovery, 
storage, safekeeping, and, where appropriate, return of a 
vehicle or aircraft, no person will be entitled to compensation 
from the Requested Party for any damages sustained while the 
vehicle or aircraft is in the custody of the Requested Party.
    Article 11 provides that the mechanisms for the recovery 
and return of stolen, embezzled, or appropriated vehicles or 
aircraft under this Treaty shall be in addition to those 
available under the laws of the Requested Party.
    Article 12(1) states that any differences regarding the 
interpretation or application of the Treaty will be resolved 
through consultations between the Parties. Article 12(2) states 
that the Treaty will be subject to ratification and will enter 
into force on the date of exchange of instruments of 
ratification. Article 12(3) provides that either Party may 
terminate the Treaty upon a minimum of 90 days written 
notification.
    The Department of Justice joins the Department of State in 
favoring approval of the Treaty, with Annexes and related 
exchange of notes, by the Senate as soon as possible.
    Respectfully submitted,
                                               Thomas R. Pickering.