Extradition and Mutual Assistance Requests

Extradition is the process by which one country detains and delivers a person accused of committing a crime to a law enforcement agency of another country, so that the person may face criminal charges.

Mutual Assistance refers to the process of sharing evidence about criminal investigations or prosecutions between countries. The information gathered from such investigations can be used as the basis for an extradition request.

This article provides an overview of the numbers of extradition and mutual assistance requests made and received during the 2018–19 financial year, as provided by the Attorney General’s Department in its annual report.

 

Extradition requests made by Australia

During the reporting period Australia made 10 new extradition requests to other countries. Four requests were granted:

 

Australian extradition requests granted
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1
Singapore 1
United States of America 2
Citizenship of people surrendered to Australia*
Australian 4
American 2
Croatian 1
Nepalese 1
Taiwanese 1

 

*Note: As some of these people held dual nationality, the numbers total more than the number of people surrendered.

The major categories of offences for which people were surrendered to Australia include murder, sex offences, child sex offences, drug offences and proceeds of crime.

Extradition requests made to Australia

Australia received 40 new extradition requests during the period. This is a significant increase compared to the 2016-17 financial year where 16 extradition requests were made to Australia.

16 of these requests were granted:

 

Extradition requests granted by Australia
Czech Republic 1
Ireland 2
Korea 1
Slovenia 1
United States of America 8
United Kingdom 3
Citizenship of people surrendered by Australia*
Australian 4
American 1
British 1
Irish 3
Jordanian 1
Nigerian 1
Slovenian 1
Vietnamese 1

 

The major categories of offences for which people were surrendered by Australia include fraud, export offences, money laundering, murder and sexual assault/child sex offences.

Mutual Assistance requests

2018-19 saw a significant increase in mutual assistance requests made by Australia compared to 2016-17, where 307 new requests were made.

 

Mutual Assistance requests made by Australia
Requests carried forward 535
New requests made/requests reopened 412
Requests finalised 416
Requests continuing 531
Mutual Assistance requests made to Australia
Requests carried forward 326
New requests made/requests reopened 460
Requests finalised 492
Requests continuing 294

The rise and fall of requests over time

The report provides comparative statistics from 2008-09 onwards which show the trends of extradition and mutual assistance requests over time.

It’s clear that in both scenarios of Australia making and receiving requests, the number of mutual assistance requests greatly exceeds the number of extradition requests.

Extradition and mutual assistance requests made by Australia

 

2008–09 2009–10 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13 2013–14 2014–15 2015–16 2016–17 2017–18 2018–19
New extradition requests
made by Australia
25 19 21 14 16 15 9 6 7 19 10
New mutual assistance requests
made by Australia
184 182 203 263 292 352 338 366 307 352 412

 

Extradition and mutual assistance requests made by Australia

There has been a marked decline in the number of extradition requests made by Australia over the years, despite a significant upward fluctuation in the 2017-18 financial year.

Conversely, there has been a significant increase in the number of mutual assistance requests made by Australia, signalling the increasing importance of this mechanism in international legal cooperation.

Compared to 2008-09 there has been a:

  • 60% decrease in new extradition requests made by Australia.
  • 124% increase in new mutual assistance requests made by Australia.

Extradition and mutual assistance requests made to Australia

 

2008–09 2009–10 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13 2013–14 2014–15 2015–16 2016–17 2017–18 2018–19
New extradition requests
made to Australia
17 30 23 22 23 43 32 28 16 40 40
New mutual assistance requests
made to Australia
340 380 427 387 398 321 340 398 429 409 460

 

Extradition and MLA requests

Both types of requests have experienced fluctuations but compared to 2008-09 there has been a:

  • 135% increase in new extradition requests made to Australia.
  • 35% increase in new mutual assistance requests made to Australia.

Conclusion

Extradition and mutual assistance are inextricably linked. Mutual assistance facilitates international cooperation and the gathering of evidence across borders, which can lead to extradition being requested.

Requests for mutual assistance are more common than those for extradition, both to and from Australia.

Australia is increasingly utilising mutual assistance to facilitate international investigations, while at the same time showing a decrease in the number of extradition requests made to other countries.

While the rate of mutual assistance requests from foreign countries to Australia have not increased at the same rate of Australia’s outbound requests, the number of extradition requests made to Australia have increased.

Nyman Gibson Miralis provides expert advice and representation in complex transnational cases involving extradition and mutual legal assistance.

Contact us if you require assistance.