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Suriname to join Caricom Arrest Warrant Treaty


Caribbeannewsnow.com
Last Update: Dec 2, 2009

PARAMARIBO, Suriname -- With the approval of the draft legislation by the Council of Ministers, Suriname moved one step closer to joining the Caricom Arrest Warrant Treaty, a government official has disclosed. This agreement simplifies extradition of wanted suspects between Caricom member states.

By Ivan Cairo

PARAMARIBO, Suriname -- With the approval of the draft legislation by the Council of Ministers, Suriname moved one step closer to joining the Caricom Arrest Warrant Treaty, a government official has disclosed.

In an invited comment, Suriname’s minister of Justice and Police, Chandrikapersad Santokhi, said that, while president Ronald Venetiaan had already signed the bill some time ago, several cabinet ministers needed more time to review the proposed legislation. In its weekly meeting recently the Council of Ministers ultimately gave its consent clearing the way for the bill to be presented to the State Council and parliament to complete the ratification process.

While Suriname will join the treaty, Santokhi further noted that the country made a significant reservation, stating that as long as national legislation has not been amended Suriname will not extradite its nationals to Caricom member states. The national laws prohibit extradition of Surinamese nationals to a foreign nation. So far, Suriname, St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago signed the Caricom Warrant Treaty. This agreement simplifies extradition of wanted suspects between Caricom member states.

“This agreement is a mechanism to replace the extensive red tape which is hampering extradition of wanted criminals between our nations. Extradition procedures often are taking very long to be implemented successfully”, said the minister. He further noted that since Caricom through several agreements became “one space and one jurisdiction”, several mechanisms and procedures should be in place to provide and advance security in the region.

Santokhi explained that with the Caricom Arrest Warrant Treaty it would be easier to arrest any individual who committed a criminal offence in one national jurisdiction within Caricom and fled to another one, and hand over this suspect to member states which are seeking their prosecution.

Any extradition request, however, should come from a judicial authority to a counterpart in the other nations which will review the signed into the agreement. Each country has to establish whether a judge or magistrate will be the authority to handle extradition matters.

Suriname will assign a judge as its authority to examine extradition request in order to guarantee that there will not be any violations of the rights of involved persons. Currently the government is making preparations to amend the Extradition Bill.

“As long as this law has not been changed there will be a reservation regarding extradition of or nationals to other nations,” Santokhi added.


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