CUA Law Professor Mary Leary testified before the U.S. Helsinki Commission on Sept. 27, 2018.
The Extradition Case of Judge Venckiene
"Since 2008, Lithuanian judge and parliamentarian Neringa Venckiene has been seeking justice for her young niece, who was allegedly sexually molested by two Lithuanian government officials. Despite a court ruling that there was enough evidence to indict the child's mother for facilitating the molestation, the niece was taken from Judge Venckiene and returned to the mother's care, preventing the girl from testifying further in an ongoing trial against her alleged abusers.
In 2013, Judge Venckiene fled Lithuania to seek political asylum in the United States, fearing retribution not only for her efforts to protect her niece but also for her leadership in a new anti-corruption political party. Lithuanian prosecutors have since charged Judge Venckiene with at least 35 crimes, ranging from petitioning the court on her niece's behalf, to speaking to journalists about the case, to bruising an officer during her struggle to keep her niece.
Five years after arriving in the United States, Judge Venckiene's political asylum case has still not been heard, but U.S. authorities are moving to extradite her under the U.S.-Lithuania extradition treaty. The hearing explored the limits of extradition among allies, especially when charges appear politically motivated. Witnesses also discussed whether the bilateral extradition treaty would protect Judge Venckiene from additional charges and civil suits if she were extradited.
The Government of Lithuania was invited to participate in the hearing, or to suggest a witness to represent its perspective, but declined. Instead, the Embassy of Lithuania provided a written statement."