Monday, June 23, 2008

Refugees who might be criminals

It is of some comfort to learn that information gained from applicants for refugee status may be passed to authorities concerned with extradition or prosecution for crime: Attorney General v X and the Refugee Status Appeals Authority [2008] NZSC 48 (20 June 2008).

Three of the four judges in the lower courts had held that s 129T(3)(b) of the Immigration Act 1997 prevents such disclosure, but the dissenting judgment in the Court of Appeal was upheld.

Although the question of law in this case focused on use of information for the purpose of extradition or for possible prosecution of the first respondent in New Zealand under the International Crimes and International Criminal Court Act 2000, the decision is wider:

“12. … s 129T(3)(b) therefore permits disclosure to those referred to in that paragraph for the purpose of their considering the extradition or prosecution of the first respondent.”

For other examples of New Zealand’s assertion of jurisdiction to prosecute for certain crimes committed overseas, see also Crimes Act 1961, s 7A, Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, s 12C.

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