Extradition and refugee proceedings
The issues raised during consultation
11.5In Chapter 10 of our Issues Paper, we discussed the inter-relationship between refugee and extradition proceedings. We suggested that the Extradition Bill should include statutory bars on extraditing a refugee in breach of the Refugee Convention and on extraditing an asylum seeker who is awaiting final determination of their refugee claim. We also raised for discussion the issue of whether information disclosed in one type of proceeding should be available for use in the other.
11.6The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provided us with a submission on Chapter 10. The submission indicated to us that our proposed statutory bars were a start, but that much greater reform would be required to address the complex and technical legal issues that currently exist surrounding:
(a) the impact of one proceeding on the other;
(b) the sequencing of these proceedings; and
(c) the degree to which the government agencies involved are able to share information with each other.
11.7In light of this submission, we held a series of meetings with immigration specialists, including representatives from the Refugee Status Branch (RSB) and the Immigration and Protection Tribunal (IPT). The RSB is part of the Immigration New Zealand Group in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. The RSB employs refugee and protection officers, who are responsible for the initial determination of any claim under the Immigration Act. The IPT is an independent tribunal chaired by a District Court Judge. It is responsible for determining any appeal against a decision made by a refugee and protection officer, and considers the claim afresh.
11.8In these meetings we explored how the New Zealand authorities should respond if a refugee or an asylum seeker in New Zealand is also the subject of an extradition request. We discussed a variety of different ideas as to how this situation should be resolved and how the relationship between the extradition and refugee proceedings should work in practice.