Review of extradition cases urged

Published: Tuesday 10th March 2015 by The News Editor

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The British Government has been urged by a group of peers to look at extradition cases involving assurances from the other state.

The House of Lords Extradition Law Committee found that the system of accepting assurances cannot guarantee the UK is meeting its human rights obligations.

In addition, the Committee also called for the Government to look at its decision to means-test legal aid in extradition cases as it believes the most recent cost-benefit analysis was “neither sufficient nor credible”.

Chairman of the Committee, Lord Inglewood, said: ” The Government must examine the practice of extradition taking place on the basis of assurances from the Issuing State.

“Assurances are given when there is a real risk of a person’s human rights being breached if they are extradited.

“The UK must be confident that it is fulfilling its obligation to ensure that extradition will not lead to human rights abuses.

“We are pleased that the Government is reviewing how assurances are monitored; this work must be completed as a matter of urgency.

“Furthermore, we believe that details of all assurances given to the UK should be collated and published regularly to improve the transparency of the process, enable the robust monitoring of assurances and allow for remedies and sanctions should the assurances not be adhered to.”

Lord Inglewood said he was “disturbed” that the main case for not retaining legal aid in extradition cases was an economic one with “little regard for the interests of justice”.

Looking at the UK and US extradition agreement, the group of peers flagged concerns about the US justice system, particularly lengthy periods of pre-trial detention and difficulties in obtaining bail.

However, the courts have found the US justice system to be compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Committee recommends that the Government seeks a clearer understanding with the US as to how those who are extradited will be treated.

Published: Tuesday 10th March 2015 by The News Editor

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