Saarc Extradition Documents Compiled
New Delhi: To ensure that extradition proceedings of hardened criminals and wanted terrorists are not obstructed or delayed due to legal “lacunas”, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has come up with a unique initiative.
In a first, the UN body in association with India and Pakistan has prepared a compendium of documents pertaining to extradition and “mutual legal assistance” in the eight SAARC countries. This will serve as a ready reckoner for investigating agencies and judges in the South Asian nations to apprise themselves of the extradition proceedings and agreements entered into between countries for detention of terrorists and hardened criminals. It will also help during sharing of information and gathering of evidence for use in criminal investigations.
The compilation has been elaborated by UNODC, in cooperation with Indian Law Institute, a deemed uni- versity, as well as the Research Society of International Law, Pakistan. Ministries of foreign affairs, law and justice, attorney general offices and research institutes of the eight countries were consulted and financial contribution of the US was taken to prepare the compendium.
“It has been often observed that extradition proceedings of terrorists are delayed as the mutual legal assistance contracts entered between two countries are perused at a very late stage. Plus, since there are several agreements entered, these often escape the notice of investigating agencies,” a senior official involved with the preparation of the document told ET, requesting anonymity. “This compendium will immensely benefit investigating agencies and also judges as it will save invaluable time and energy.” The foreword of the compendium said: “With the increased mobility of people, information and goods, terrorism has progressively evolved into a transnational threat, transcending classic geographic and cultural borders, as both actors and victims alike have become involved on a worldwide scale. With this evergrowing challenge for the international community, one state alone is no longer in a position to respond to terrorism. Rather, international cooperation has become a fundamental necessity in the global fight against terrorism”.
It is a compilation of legal documents on international cooperation in criminal matters. It says “legal responses, from the national, bilateral and regional levels serve to facilitate cooperation and harmonize criminal justice responses to terrorism by and amongst states. The implementation of effective judicial cooperation through extradition and mutual legal assistance allows for an effective response”. The compendium aims to provide practitioners and other actors involved in international cooperation in criminal matters with a reference tool to assist them in information sharing and the gathering of evidence for use in criminal investigations.