Saarc Ex­tra­di­tion Doc­u­ments Com­piled

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Raghav.Ohri@ times­group.com

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.

ZAHID

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