Posted at 5:00 am
New Zealand justice does not deny the existence of torture in China. But before Beijing’s guarantees, the Supreme Court upheld a 2016 decision to extradite a permanent resident to that country, where he is accused of murder. The ruling drew criticism in New Zealand as elsewhere.
Kyung Yup Kim, 40, of South Korean descent, has been fighting extradition for 11 years. He lives in New Zealand, where he has resided permanently since he was a teenager.
Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court upheld a ruling that upheld the Justice Department’s decision to extradite Mr. Kim to China, where he was accused of murder in Shanghai in 2009.
At the center of the debate? The dangers of torture on Chinese soil, a documented practice and an unfair trial.
The answers given by the Chinese government satisfies the New Zealand Ministry of Justice. The authority in China assured the ministry that the New Zealand consulate and diplomatic representatives could visit the accused in custody during the investigation, once every 48 hours, and even more, if requested.
“I am troubled by this assumption that the diplomatic guarantees of the People’s Republic of China are a solid basis for extradition,” he notes in an interview with Journalism Anna Hai is a researcher in Chinese law at the University of Otago in New Zealand.
When the ruling was announced on April 13, voices rose to denounce the precedent so established, among elected officials in New Zealand and elsewhere. About 20 Members of Parliament and Senators from various countries, such as the United Kingdom, France and Australia, members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, signed a letter to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at Foreign Minister Nana Mahuta and Minister of Justice Chris Vavoy to express their “concern” about the decision.
Human rights groups also denounced New Zealand’s decision, which was not unanimous, with two of the five judges dissenting.
“China is a country with judicial practices across the board – not just against rights defenders or opponents – wholly inappropriate, we’re talking about unfair trials, closed doors where defense lawyers don’t have access to evidence,” explains France-Isabelle Langlois, executive director of NGO Francophone Canadian Amnesty International. It is swift, and the sentences are wholly disproportionate to the crimes allegedly committed.”
She is afraid of the next delivery orders, not only in New Zealand, but also in other places.
From the moment there is a one-way ruling, the door opens to future rulings for similar reasons. It could be China or any similar authoritarian regime.
France Isabelle Langlois, Executive Director of Amnesty International Francophone Canada
According to Sophie Richardson, China director of Human Rights Watch, the “No” guarantee from China would have been satisfactory. “The idea of the New Zealand government accepting diplomatic assurances from the Chinese government is worrying, there is a dark history on the Chinese side of denying people a fair trial, of ill-treatment and torture in detention,” she said.
a test ”
In the New Zealand Supreme Court ruling, the judges noted that “the Secretary of State, in her letter dated October 6, 2021, has argued that Mr. Kim’s case is a ‘test’ for the People’s Republic of China. [République populaire de Chine] He noted the People’s Republic of China’s interest in extradition. Based on this analysis, advertising [autour du cas] It can, in fact, protect Mr. Kim’s interests.”
Despite the differences, including human rights, New Zealand maintains close ties with China, its largest trading partner.
In her letter to the court, the foreign minister also made clear that Mr. Kim’s case differs from that of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have been arbitrarily detained in China for more than 1,000 days, because he was not a politician. An accusation with motive, but a “serious and legitimate allegation of a crime”.
Kyung Yup Kim is accused of killing Byun Chen, which happened in Shanghai in December 2009. The 20-year-old was found in a vacant lot, suffocated, her body wrapped in a large black cloth. She had head injuries, according to New Zealand court documents.
Mr. Kim was at the time in Shanghai with his girlfriend, who identified the fabrics the waitress had wrapped as similar to those seen in the accused’s apartment.
“There is a victim in this case, Byun Chen, and of course his family and society deserve justice for his death,” said the lady.me Average. She said whether or not China had serious reasons to suspect Mr. Kim, countries should act responsibly. “Before Mr. Kim is returned to China, New Zealand has a legal and moral obligation to ensure that his fundamental human rights are not violated,” she added.
To avoid extradition, Kyung Yup Kim can turn to the UN Human Rights Committee.