Giving effect to international obligations
3.80In addition to the Extradition Act 1999, there are two other statutes that aim to give effect to New Zealand’s international extradition obligations: the International Crimes and International Criminal Court Act 2000 and the International War Crimes Tribunals Act 1995.
International Criminal Court
3.81The International Crimes and International Criminal Court Act implements New Zealand’s obligations under the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court (ICC). Part 4 of the Act provides for the arrest and surrender of a person to the ICC in response to a request to do so from the ICC. This is a process that is similar to extradition.
3.82The procedure in Part 4 of the International Crimes and International Criminal Court Act echoes that in the Extradition Act, with the same decision makers being responsible for the different stages in the process. The most significant difference between the extradition process and the surrender of a person to the ICC is that the grounds on which the Minister of Justice can refuse surrender in ICC cases are much more limited.
3.83These two procedures should be aligned in the future. Therefore, we are aware of the need to consider the impact that any reforms to the Extradition Act might have on the International Crimes and International Criminal Court Act. In that regard, we note that particular care needs to be taken with proposals that relate to the decision makers responsible for considering requests for extradition (Chapter 4) and the grounds for refusal (Chapter 8).
International war crimes tribunalsTop
3.84The International War Crimes Tribunals Act 1995 enables New Zealand to cooperate with the United Nations tribunals for prosecuting war crimes in Yugoslavia and Rwanda and any other tribunal given coverage under the Act by declaration. This Act also provides for the arrest and surrender of persons to a tribunal where the Government receives a request from the tribunal.
3.85As it preceded the 1999 Extradition Act, the International War Crimes Tribunals Act does not follow the same procedures or have the same decision makers as apply to extradition. Its procedures differ from both the Extradition Act and the International Crimes and International Criminal Court Act: decisions are made by the Attorney-General, and the court only has a role in issuing an arrest warrant, not in the decision to surrender a person. There is one broad ground for declining surrender: that it would be “unjust or otherwise inappropriate to surrender the person”.
3.86It would be preferable for the procedures and decision makers in these three Acts to align. The reality, however, is that there may no longer be a practical need for the International War Crimes Tribunal Act, as the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and Yugoslavia are both in the process of completing their mandates and are closing down.
Q1 How can we achieve making the new Act the primary source of New Zealand’s extradition law but also, where necessary, give effect to New Zealand’s international obligations?
Q2 How should extradition treaties be able to alter the statutory regime?