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Lothar Ebke


How does Extradition Work?

Extradition in Canada is based on a Treaty between two countries and the Canadian Extradition Act. Canadian Extradition law was substantially altered with the inactment of the new Extradition Act in 1999.

The Federal Justice Minister is responsible for extradition matters. Within the Justice Minister's office is the International Assistance Group, which helps foreign countries to prepare extradition requests for the Canadian legal system.

Extradition Hearing

A Supreme Court judge has to examine the materials presented by the requesting state. The materials do not have to meet as high a standard as required by Canadian courts for a matter to go to trial. The materials presented by the requesting state cannot be challenged by the person sought for extradition. The defence can only question whether the criteria under the Extradition Act have been met and whether the constitutional rights of the person have been protected. One criterion is that the offence has to be a punishable crime in both countries (double criminality).

The Role of the Minister

If the hearing judge rules that the person is extraditable, the matter is referred to the Federal Minister of Justice. He or she can put conditions on the extradition or refuse extradition ay all. He/she can also sign the order that the person will be extradited.

Unspecified submissions can be made to the Justice Minister.

The Appeal

Both the results of the extradition hearing and the Minister's decision can be appealed, The appeal will be heard by the Appeal Court of the NWT Supreme Court.

Many people who are sought for extradition from Canada do not get bail and spend long periods of time in jail waiting for the extradition proceedings to conclude. The time in Canadian jail can be longer than the expected sentence if found guilty in the requesting country. Frequently this leads people to consent to extradition without exercising all of their legal rights in Canada.

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