CLA calls for extradition monitor

Imminent new extradition and mutual assistance laws should incorporate the strong recommendations made by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, at CLA’s instigation, for Australia to monitor and report to Parliament annually on the subsequent fate of people we extradite. Currently, like Pontius Pilate, we wash our hands of these people. So far the government has ignored JSCOT.

Legislation and Policy Section
International Crime Cooperation Division
Attorney-General’s Department
3-5 National Circuit
BARTON ACT 2600

Dear Sir/Madam

Civil Liberties Australia proposes that the new Extradition/Mutual Assistance legislation includes clauses which satisfy the recommendations of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT), Recommendations 2, 3 and 4 as found at 2.43 of REPORT 91: TREATIES TABLED ON 12 MARCH 2008 on pp16-17-18.

CLA notes that these are the considered recommendations of the very committee responsible for supervising extradition and mutual assistance treaties.  There could be no more appropriate body to make recommendations as to what is required in treaty legislation, and JSCOT has in fact made precise recommendations which do not appear to be reflected in the 2011 draft legislation.

In particular, CLA supports – as does JSCOT, after a formal inquiry into existing procedure – the following:

  • Requiring extraditing countries to provide annual reports to Australia on people Australia has extradited;
  • Annual reporting to Parliament on extradition requests to Australia, results of the requests, and the status of extradited persons, including their trial/similar status; and
  • Following up by Australia if an extradited person is further extradited to a third country, etc.

CLA wishes to highlight the words of JSCOT, under 2.43:

However the Committee has serious concerns in relation to the monitoring of outcomes for extradited persons under Australia’s current extradition treaties and has made recommendations to the Government to act to address these concerns.

CLA has been unable to identify anywhere in the 2011 draft legislation where JSCOT’s “serious concerns” have been addressed.

CLA notes also the following comment by JSCOT. These comments indicate that the parliamentary body – JSCOT – responsible for considering whether extradition and mutual assistance treaties should be signed, and re-signed, by Australia has no way of knowing whether or not previous treaties with the same countries have been honored by those countries.

2.41 Annual reporting would facilitate public monitoring and would also inform future consideration by JSCOT on new extradition treaties.30 Despite the widespread adoption of the ‘no evidence’ approach by Australia, JSCOT is not in a position to determine whether the existing arrangements are being upheld in respect of all extradited persons.
2.42 In the event that a country has breached the provisions of an extradition treaty or that there has been an abuse of the human rights of an extradited person, the matter should be reported to Parliament and stand referred to the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade for inquiry and report.

In other words, as JSCOT says, without the monitoring regime as proposed by JSCOT, neither they, nor the Attorney-General’s Department, nor the Parliament nor the Australian people have any idea whether we should continue to extradite people to the countries in question.

As CLA has commented previously, without a monitoring regime as recommended by JSCOT, Australia is acting like Pontius Pilate and completely washing its hands of the fate, and the civil liberties and human rights, of people we have turned over to the sometimes problematic judicial systems of other nations.

CLA notes that the 2011 legislation provides for reasonably full reporting on mutual assistance requests; we believe the same principle requires there be reporting, as desired by JSCOT, of all relevant facts associated with extradition requests.

Bill Rowlings
CEO
Civil Liberties Australia

14 March 2011

Report 91 can be found at:
http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/jsct/12march2008/report91.htm
See Chapter 2.

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