11.33Throughout this Report, we have made it plain that one of our goals in reforming the Extradition Act 1999 is to limit double decision making and avenues for needless delay wherever possible. This raises the issue of whether extradition and refugee proceedings should continue to run in parallel or whether one proceeding should take precedence over the other.
11.36The benefit of this approach is that the sequence of the proceedings, and the impact of one on the other, is relatively clear. However, halting the extradition proceeding leaves little scope for information gathered through the extradition process to inform the refugee proceeding. As we explain below, we consider this cross-fertilisation is needed.
Extradition and refugee status determinations are distinct procedures, which have different purposes and are governed by different legal criteria. Decision-makers in either area must have specific sets of knowledge, expertise and skills. Where the determination on whether or not the wanted person has a well found fear of persecution is incorporated into the extradition procedure, this may significantly reduce an asylum-seekers opportunity to have his or her claim examined. It may also entail a limitation of legal remedies available in case of a negative status determination. It is the UNHCR’s position, therefore, that the decision on the asylum claim and on the extradition request, respectively, should be made in separate procedures.
This does not mean that the two processes should be conducted in isolation. As seen throughout this Guidance Note, whether or not the wanted person qualifies for refugee status has important consequences for the scope of the requested State’s obligations under international law with respect to the wanted person, and hence for the decision on the extradition request. At the same time, information related to the extradition request may have an impact on the determination of the asylum claim. In order to reach a proper decision in both the asylum and the extradition procedure, the responsible authorities need to consider all relevant elements.