How to strive for extradition of political fugitives?
25/04-2012 11:46, Bishkek – 24.kg news agency , by Islam DUVANAEV
Many politicians fled Kyrgyzstan after 2010 April 7 events who were involved somehow in shooting of protestors and corruption activity of the previous regime. To the present day the Prosecutor General’s Office is striving for extradition of a dozen of high-ranking officials but countries, where they are hiding, deny requests. The day before, top prosecutor Aida Salayanova said at the session of the Parliament that “political will is needed to address the issue on extradition of former high-ranking officials”. Earlier the leader of Ar-Namys faction, Felix Kulov, suggested addressing to the UN Convention against Corruption. He believes that international courts will have to respond to requests of the Kyrgyz Prosecutor General’s Office after that.
24.kg news agency decided to ask its respondents about their opinions how to strive for extradition of political fugitives.
Tamerlan Ibraimov, the director of the Center for Political and Law Studies:
- It is unlikely that it is possible in current conditions. The main reason is that many countries are skeptical about independence of our judicial system and quality of the investigation. That is why we are refused. Nobody will extradite former political leaders of Kyrgyzstan until we carry out the judicial reform and prove their guilt. For example, Britain. Meanwhile Belarus doesn’t worry so much about our judicial system, Alexander Lukashenka has own opinion as for this. We have to strive for extradition of Zhanysh Bakiyev, first of all, who is privy to murder of people near “the White House”, as well as Maxim Bakiyev who is guilty of corruption in the country.
Cholpon Dzhakupova, the director of Adilet legal clinic:
- The Kishinev Convention contains provisions which ban extradition of people if their life and freedom are under threat in their country. Unfair justice is also a threat. Unfortunately, Kyrgyzstan is not in a list of countries observing trial standards. We won’t be able to press for extradition of these persons until the Constitutional Chamber will begin operating in our country and the judiciary establishment will be legally formed. Here, everything depends on political will of Almazbek Atambayev. I am eager to see Bakiyevs before the court in order not to look for a persons left holding the baby. But we have to press for competent and fair investigation in order to strive for Bakiyevs’ extradition. Political leadership of the country is not interested in extradition of former leaders of Kyrgyzstan as it is easier for them to make officers of Alfa Special Forces guilty than to answer themselves.
Mars Sariev, politologist:
- The international legal framework has loop-holes to accomplish extradition procedure. But in our case, political motives are obvious therefore nobody will return fugitive politicians. In this context London is the most impregnable stronghold. The capital of the world jurisprudence will never extradite refugees due to political motives. I think this is serious shortcoming in the world practice. In our case we face collision in light of which Kyrgyzstan looks rather weak state. I have little belief in possible extradition of our politicians as other states are interested in this issue. We will be not able to rely on international conventions.
Ednan Karabaev, the ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs:
- Can you understand logic of authorities that first let go then call in? I consider such behavior unworthy. Initially, the international law is a tool for pressure on under-developed countries. Relying on that the issue on extradition is considered not within framework of the law but on the basis of geopolitical interests of countries. Besides, there is a theoretical aspect of the issue. For example, what organizations did they apply? Interpol, European Court of Human Rights, Hague Tribunal – each has own requirements for a package of documents. As for Belarus, it is necessary to take into account not only the international law but its local laws. In this case we may look for the International Court but this is next to impossible. Besides, extradition procedure is too expensive process. It is easier to ask whose persons who created conditions for escape of these persons and were their abetter.
Galina Skripkina, MP:
- This is too hard question in terms of procedure. Surely, this depends on political will of states granting asylum for fugitives. If leaders of these countries understand, for example, that Bakiyevs are guilty of death of peoples, then we may hope for something. But this is useless without political will. We have already had pitiable experience when Askar Akaev wasn’t extradited; the same situation is now. This is matter rather political than legal.
Tursunbek Akun, Ombudsman:
- As Ombudsman I can say it is possible to extradite these persons, including Kurmanbek Baliyev, at any time if there is political will. Because he is charged with mass murder and there are solid grounds for his extradition. And the people will never know rest until ex-President will be hold liable. Meanwhile he is charged in absentia. But authorities have to fulfill will of the people and demand his extradition.
Ishenbay Abdurazakov, the head of Political Research Foundation:
- This issue has two aspects. First is legal. In order to strive for extradition the state has to have agreements on legal assistance with other countries. One may apply to Interpol or UN Convention against Corruption but only upon condition that these accusations must be evidentiary. Second aspect is political. Authorities consider this issue in light of expedience and does this person deserve punishment in fact. Of course, terms happen to be. The bright example is Alexander Lukashenka. If he decides not to extradite it will be so. We have to use all mechanisms of international cooperation. But I doubt whether our authorities are persistent in extradition of political fugitives.
Natalya Ablova, the head of Bureau of Human Rights and Rule of Law in Kyrgyzstan:
- Human rights advocates don’t side with official prosecution; this is business of the Prosecutor General’s Office. It is another matter that these fugitives would be charged with crimes against humanity. It is necessary to press for judicial decision to be recognized worldwide to extradite them. Meanwhile there is no judiciary establishment here. The Constitutional Chamber, the final authority that could deliver unique decision, is still absent. How can we demand extradition of these people if they are under protection of courts of these countries and international conventions as political refugees? Even if we safeguard their immunity, freedom of speech and independence of courts there is no guarantee of their bound extradition.
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