Extradition Bill Introduced

  • Doug Graham

The Minister of Justice, Rt Hon D.A.M. Graham, today introduced legislation modernising New Zealand's extradition law.

The Extradition Bill rationalises three existing extradition regimes and incorporates recent international developments in extradition practice.

The Bill replaces the Extradition Act, which regulates extradition between NZ and non-Commonwealth countries and requires a treaty, and the Fugitive Offenders Act, which contains two regimes that regulate inter-Commonwealth extradition.

It widens the range of offences to those which carry a maximum penalty of at least 12 months' imprisonment in both NZ and the requesting country.

Mr Graham said extradition to non-Commonwealth countries will no longer require a treaty.

'If there is no formal extradition relationship with a particular country, its requests can be dealt with on an ad hoc basis.'

The Bill prescribes the procedural framework to be used to process requests for extradition within the NZ justice system. It allows for choice between two procedural regimes.

It also standardises the grounds on which surrender can be refused.

'The grounds for refusal reflect those found in modern extradition laws and treaties, such as the imposition of the death penalty, the risk of torture or a political offence, and clearly states the circumstances in which they are relevant,' Mr Graham said.

Provisions to facilitate extradition of persons to NZ are also included in the Bill.