Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with GermanySenate Consideration of Treaty Document 108-27
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[Senate Treaty Document 108-27] [From the U.S. Government Publishing Office] 108th Congress 2d Session SENATE Treaty Doc. 108-27 _______________________________________________________________________ MUTUAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE TREATY WITH GERMANY __________ MESSAGE from THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES transmitting TREATY BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY ON MUTUAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE IN CRIMINAL MATTERS, SIGNED AT WASHINGTON ON OCTOBER 14, 2003; AND A RELATED EXCHANGE OF NOTES November 16, 2004.--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 LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL ---------- The White House, November 16, 2004. 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 Federal Republic of Germany on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, signed at Washington on October 14, 2003, and a related exchange of notes. 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 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. 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 the testimony or statements of persons; providing documents, records, and articles of evidence; locating or identifying persons; serving documents; transferring persons in custody for testimony or other purposes; executing requests for searches and seizures; undertaking telecommunications surveillance, undercover investigations, and controlled deliveries; assisting in proceedings related to immobilization and forfeiture of assets, restitution to the victims of crime and collection of fines; and any other form of assistance not prohibited by the laws of the State from whom the assistance is requested. I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Treaty, and give its advice and consent to ratification. George W. Bush. LETTER OF SUBMITTAL ---------- Department of State, June 14, 2004. The President, The White House. The President: I have the honor to submit to you the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Federal Republic of Germany on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (``the Treaty''), signed at Washington on October 14, 2003, and a related exchange of notes. I recommend that the Treaty and exchange of notes be transmitted to the Senate for its advice and consent to ratification. The Treaty covers mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. In recent years, similar bilateral treaties have entered into force between the United States and a number of other countries. This Treaty contains many provisions similar to those other treaties and all by the essential provisions sought by the United States. It is accompanied by an exchange of notes which relates to Articles 9, 10, and 11 of the Treaty and which forms an integral part of the Treaty. The Treaty will enhance our ability to investigate and prosecute a variety of offenses.The Treaty is designed to be self-executing and will not require implementing legislation. Article 1 sets out the scope of assistance available under the Treaty. The Parties shall afford assistance in criminal investigations and proceedings, which, in the case of Germany, include those relating to regulatory offenses under antitrust law. Assistance also shall be granted for investigations and proceedings relating to regulatory offenses as a whole, to the extent they may lead to court proceedings or may be referred for criminal prosecution in the Requesting State and would constitute criminal offenses in the Requested State. This will enable assistance for investigations by, for example, the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Federal Trade Commission. Article 1(2) contains a non-exhaustive list of the major types of assistance to be provided under the Treaty, including taking the testimony or statements of persons; providing items; locating or identifying persons; serving documents; transferring persons in custody for testimony or other purposes; executing requests for searches and seizures; undertaking special investigative techniques, such as telecommunications surveillance, undercover investigations, and controlled deliveries; assisting in proceedings related to immobilization and forfeiture of assets; assisting in proceedings related to restitution to the victims of crime and collection of fines; and any other form of assistance not prohibited by the laws of the Requested State. This is the first U.S. bilateral MLAT to include special investigative techniques among permissible types of assistance. Paragraph 3 establishes that requests may be initiated or executed by any competent authority designated in the Appendix to the Treaty. For both countries, state as well as federal officials are listed as competent authorities. Article 1(4) provides that assistance does not depend upon whether the conduct that is the subject of the criminal investigation or proceeding in the Requesting State also would constitute a criminal or regulatory offense under the laws of the Requested State, except in limited circumstances addressed separately in the Treaty (e.g., search and seizure under Article 11) . Paragraph 5 states that a request under the Treaty is necessary in investigations or proceedings involving compulsory process in the other State. Where denial of a request or delay in responding to it may jeopardize the success of the investigation or proceeding in the Requesting State, the Parties are obliged to consult in an effort to achieve a satisfactory result, but if, after 40 days from the commencement of such consultations, no such result is reached, then the Parties' obligations under the Treaty are deemed fulfilled, and other, non-treaty-based measures may be pursued. Article 1(6) states explicitly that the Treaty does not create a right on the part of any private person to obtain, suppress or exclude any evidence, or to impede the execution of a request. Paragraph 7 extends Treaty coverage to criminal investigations and proceedings related to foreign exchange matters only to the extent subsequently agreed between the Parties. Article 2 provides for the designation of Central Authorities and identifies who will fulfill this responsibility. For the United States, the Central Authority is the Attorney General or a person designated by the Attorney General. For the Federal Republic of Germany, the Central Authority is the Federal Ministry of Justice. The article provides that the Central Authorities are to communicate directly with one another for the purposes of the Treaty. However, in cases of urgency, the German Federal Cartel Office or a German state Ministry of Justice may communicate directly with the U.S. Department of Justice. 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 its execution would prejudice the security or other essential public interests of the Requested State. During the course of negotiations, Germany indicated that it would review on a case-by-case basis whether to deny assistance to a capital prosecution in the United States. Several other countries with which the United States has concluded MLATs in recent years, including Australia, Austria and Luxembourg, have taken a similar position. Article 4 obligates the Requested State to effect service of any document transmitted to it for this purpose by the Requesting State, provided that it is received at least one month before the scheduled court appearance of the person to be served. Proof of service is to be provided by means of a receipt or an official declaration. A person who is not a national of the Requesting State, and who does not answer a summons served upon him or her, is not subject to penalty or other coercive measures. Article 5 provides a mechanism for a Requesting State to extend an invitation to a witness or expert located in the Requested State to appear at a proceeding outside the latter's territory. The Requesting State mut indicate the extent to which the person's expenses will be paid. Article 6 addresses safe conduct. A witness or expert appearing in the Requesting State pursuant to a Treaty request may not be subjected to suit or detained with respect to acts that preceded departure from the Requested State. A person who appears to answer for acts forming the subject of a criminal proceeding is similarly not subject to suit or detention except to the extent specified in the summons. In both cases, safe conduct ceases 15 days after the appearance, if the person has not left the Requesting State or returns to it. Article 7 provides for the temporary transfer of a person in custody in the Requested 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 the Requesting State to have his testimony taken in the presence of the defendant), unless the person in question does not consent or there are overriding grounds for non-transfer. Article 7(4) further establishes both the express authority and the obligation of the receiving State to keep the person transferred in custody unless otherwise authorized by the sending State. The person transferred must be returned to the custody of the sending State as soon as circumstances permit or as otherwise agreed by the Central Authorities, and the sending State is not required to initiate extradition proceedings for the return of the person transferred. The person transferred also receives credit for time served in the custody of the receiving State. Article 8 provides that the Requested State may authorize the transit through its territory of a person whose appearance in a criminal investigation or proceeding has been sought by the Requesting State, and obliges the Requested State to keep the person in custody during such transit. Article 9 requires the Requested State to provide the Requesting State with copies of publicly available records in the possession of its government offices and agencies. The Requested State may also provide copies of records in the possession of a government office 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 requests for such non public documents, entirely or in part. Article 9 also provides that records provided shall be authenticated either under the provisions of the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents or by an attestation of authenticity done by the official responsible for maintaining the records. Alternatively, the official may certify the absence or nonexistence of such records. Such authentications and certifications, if they follow the forms contained in the exchange of notes to the Treaty, are admissible in evidence in the Requesting State as proof of the truth of the matters they address. Article 10 states that, insofar as the laws of the Requested State allow, a person in the Requested State from whom testimony or evidence is requested shall be compelled, if necessary, to appear and testify or produce documents, records, information and other items. The Requesting State may request that evidence be given under oath, and the giving of false testimony is to be subject to prosecution under the laws of the Requested State. Article 10(3) further requires the Requested State to permit persons specified in the request (such as the accused, counsel for the accused, or other interested persons) to be presentduring execution of the request and to allow them to propose questions to be asked of the person giving the testimony or evidence. In the event that a person whose testimony or evidence is being taken in the Requested State asserts a claim of immunity, incapacity, or privilege under the laws of the Requesting State, Article 10(5) provides for the Requesting State to be consulted as to the validity of the claim. Finally, in order to ensure admissibility in evidence in the Requesting State, Article 10(6) provides a mechanism for authenticating, by means of an attestation, evidence that is produced pursuant to or that is the subject of testimony taken in the Requested State. Such attestations are to be certified in accordance with procedures specified in the request, which, in the case of business records, may include a certificate or protocol. Evidence so authenticated is admissible in the Requesting State as proof of the truth of the matter it addresses. As noted above in connection with Article 9, the Governments have exchanged diplomatic notes setting out agreed forms to be relied upon for this purpose. Article 11 provides that the Requested State shall execute a request for search and seizure of any item, if the offense is punishable criminally (or by a regulatory fine under German law) under the laws of both States, if information is supplied to the Requested State justifying such action under its laws, and if the Requesting State documents that compulsory production or seizure also could be obtained under its laws. This Article further creates a mechanism for certifying, through the use of procedures specified in the request, the identity of the item and its chain of custody. A form set out in the exchange of diplomatic notes may be utilized for this purpose. Certifications following these procedures are admissible as proof of the chain of custody in the Requesting State. Article 12 identifies three types of special investigative techniques which may be utilized by the Parties, within their possibilities and under the conditions prescribed by domestic law. These are: telecommunications surveillance, undercover investigations, and controlled deliveries. This MLAT marks the first occasion where such techniques have been specifically recognized by the United States as types of mutual legal assistance. The provision was included at the request of the Federal Republic of Germany. Article 13(1) provides that, if the Central Authority of one Party becomes aware that proceeds or instrumentalities of offenses that may be forfeitable or otherwise subject to seizure are located in the other Party, it may so inform the Central Authority of the other Party. If the Party receiving such information has jurisdiction, 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 of theParty that provided the information of any action taken. Article 13(2) obligates the Parties to assist each other to the extent permitted by their respective laws in proceedings relating to the 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 proceeds or instrumentalities. Under Article 13(3), the Party having custody over proceeds or instrumentalities of offenses is required to dispose of them in accordance with its laws, including the possibility of transferring assets or proceeds to the other Party. Article 14 requires the Requested State, if so requested by the Central Authority of the Requesting State, to use its best efforts to keep confidential a request and its contents. The Central Authority of the Requested State must inform the Requesting State's Central Authority if the request cannot be executed without breaching such 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 also enables the Requested State's Central Authority to request that evidence or information it furnishes under the Treaty be kept confidential or used only subject to specified conditions. If evidence or information is made subject to conditions, the Requesting State shall use its best efforts to honor them. Article 15 addresses conditions in detail. Where the Requested State could refuse assistance but instead offers it subject to conditions that are accepted by the Requesting State, the latter is bound to comply with the conditions. This Article also requires the Requesting State not to use information or evidence obtained under the Treaty for any purposes other than those for which it was sought and granted, other than exceptions specified in paragraph 3, without the prior consent of the Requested State. The circumstances under which evidence or information generally may be used without prior consent are: for other purposes within the scope of assistance under the Treaty; for prevention of a serious criminal offense; in non-criminal judicial or administrative proceedings related to criminal matters; and to avert substantial danger to public security. A Requested State may, however, specifically exclude use for one of these purposes in a particular case. Article 15(4) permits a Requesting State to disclose to a defendant in a criminal proceeding evidence that may be exculpatory or that relates to the truth and veracity of a prosecution witness. The Requesting State is obliged to notify the Requested State in advance of any such proposed disclosure. In addition, Article 15(5) permits the use of information for anypurpose once it has been made public in the normal course of a criminal proceeding in the Requesting State. Article 16 provides a special rule for ensuring confidentiality in the Requesting State of information or evidence received in connection with an antitrust investigation or proceeding. Such information is to receive the same degree of protection as evidence obtained in the Requesting State itself, may be disclosed only to persons or authorities competent for prosecuting antitrust offenses, and may be used only in public court proceedings or judicial decisions, absent consent to broader use. Article 17 prescribes the form and content of written requests under the Treaty, specifying in detail the information required in each request. A request for assistance must be in writing, except that a request may be accepted in another form in urgent situations. Requests not in writing require written confirmation within ten days unless the Central Authority of the Requested State agrees otherwise. Article 18 stipulates that requests may be made in the language of either Party, but, if made in the language of the Requesting State, shall be accompanied by a translation into the language of the Requested State. Translations of documents in the other Party's language also are required, unless otherwise agreed. Article 19 concerns execution of requests. A Requested State shall execute a request in accordance with its own criminal law and criminal procedure law except to the extent the Treaty provides otherwise. This obligation is to be construed with a view to fulfilling the overall objective of the Treaty of promoting cooperation, as recently illustrated in the case of In re Commissioner's Subpoenas, 325 F. 3d 1287 (11th Cir. 2003). In addition, a Requested State must honor requests for use of specific procedures unless prohibited under its criminal procedure law. The Requested State's Central Authority shall ensure that the request either is executed or transmitted to the authority having jurisdiction to do so. The competent authorities of the Requested State must do everything in their power to execute a request, and its courts shall have authority to issue needed orders, including search warrants. Requests are to be executed as soon as possible. However, Article 19(5) permits the Requested State to seek additional information necessary to execute the request. In addition, if the Requested State determines that execution of a request would interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation or proceeding in that State, it may postpone execution or make execution subject to conditions determined to be necessary after consultations with the Central Authority of the Requesting State. If the Requesting State accepts assistance subject to conditions, it must comply with them. Article 20 provides that the Requesting State shall return any item provided in response to a request, unless return is waived, and that the Central Authority of the Requested State may require its counterpart in the Requesting State to protect third party interests in a transferred item. Article 21 apportions between the two States the costs incurred in executing a request. It provides that the Requested State must pay all expenses and fees relating to the execution of a request, except for those relating to expert services; translation, interpretation and transcription; travel of witnesses or experts outside the Requested State pursuant to Article 5 or inside the Requested State pursuant to Article 10; and the transfer of a person in custody outside the Requested State pursuant to Article 7. The article further provides that, in the event a request entails extraordinary expenses, consultation between the Central Authorities shall occur in order to determine the terms and conditions for continuing execution. Article 22 authorizes transfer of a matter to the other Party for consideration of possible criminal investigation or prosecution. The receiving Party is obliged to notify the referring Party of the ultimate disposition of the matter. Article 23 clarifies that, as a general matter, documents and records transmitted in response to a request do not require certification, authentication or other legalization except to the extent specified in the Treaty. Article 24 provides that the Central Authorities shall consult, at times mutually agreed, to promote the most effective use of the Treaty, and may agree upon practical measures to facilitate the Treaty's implementation. Article 25 makes clear that assistance and procedures under the Treaty are non-exclusive; other applicable international agreements, arrangements, or provisions of domestic law may be utilized instead. Under Article 25(2), assistance may be refused for a tax offense if the Requested State regards the offense as being based either on taxation in the Requesting State that is contrary to the provisions of any double tax convention to which both States are party, or, in the case of taxes not covered by any such convention, on taxation that is contrary to the fundamental principles of taxation. Finally, Article 25(3) clarifies that police authorities conducting criminal investigations may request assistance directly from the other State's police authorities. Such requests by U.S. police authorities are to be addressed to Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA). Article 26 provides that the Treaty is subject to ratification and that the instruments of ratification are to be exchanged as soon as possible. The Treaty then enters into force thirty days after the exchange of instruments. Article 26(3) provides that either State may terminate the Treaty by writtennotice to the other State, termination to be effective one year after the date of such notice. The Department of Justice joins the Department of State in favoring approval of this Treaty by the Senate as soon as possible. Respectfully submitted, Colin L. Powell.