High Court tells Justice Minister to review first extradition request to China
High Court judge Jill Mallon has told Justice Minister Amy Adams to have another look at the country's first extradition request to the People's Republic of China for an accused murderer.
In the High Court at Wellington, Justice Mallon granted the application of Kyung Yup Kim to seek a judicial review of Adams' decision, she said in a July 1 judgment published today. The order was the first time China sought to extradite a person from New Zealand and also the first time New Zealand sought and obtained assurances from China that Kim wouldn't be subjected to pre-trial torture to obtain a confession or the death penalty.
"The principal reason I consider the surrender order must be reconsidered is that the minister has not explicitly addressed why she is satisfied that the assurances could be relied upon to protect Mr Kim when they do not appear to permit New Zealand representatives to disclose information about his treatment to third parties," Justice Mallon said. "In view of New Zealand's limited experience with assurances from the PRC and the limited information from other countries about their experience with the PRC honouring assurances, this may be inadequate to protect Mr Kim's rights. I consider this requires explicit consideration by the minister."
Kim is a Korean-born New Zealand resident accused of killing a woman in Shanghai, China in December 2009, and has denied the charges levelled at him. He sought a review of Mrs Adams' order contending that she "failed to come to grips with the realities of the Chinese legal system in which pretrial torture is endemic, a fair trial is not possible and assurances about the treatment of Mr Kim and as to the death penalty cannot be relied on," the judgment said.
New Zealand has avoided an extradition treaty with China because of that nation's application of the death penalty, although Prime Minister John Key softened that stance earlier this year when he visited his counterparts in April. China is said to be keen on a treaty to let it repatriate citizens thought to have migrated illegally to New Zealand with illegally obtained wealth.