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Annual Report 2007-08 Output 2.2

Policy advice on, and program administration and regulatory activities associated with, the Commonwealth’s responsibilities for international criminal justice issues and meeting Australia’s obligations for extradition and mutual assistance

Summary

The International Crime Cooperation Division advanced Australia’s international criminal justice interests through a broad range of activities. The Division worked closely with law enforcement and prosecuting agencies in meeting Australia’s international responsibilities on extradition and mutual assistance in criminal matters and in making mutual assistance and extradition requests in relation to crimes against Australian law. We completed several significant and high-profile cases involving coordination with domestic and foreign law enforcement agencies. We also worked closely with countries in South-East Asia and the Pacific on strengthening arrangements for international cooperation against crime and on related measures. We concluded a number of major treaties on crime cooperation and developed proposals to reform Australia’s extradition and mutual assistance laws.

Major achievements

Extradition and mutual assistance casework

In 2007–08, the Division continued to develop Australia’s relationships with new extradition partners, which strengthened efforts to ensure that persons wanted for serious offences are brought to justice. A number of countries surrendered persons to Australia for the first time, including Costa Rica, Cuba and Malta.

We increased the number of staff available to deal with casework, which enabled a large number of protracted matters to be finalised. We also introduced changes to our casework management practices, improving the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of mutual assistance and extradition casework. Appendix 12 provides details of extradition and mutual assistance matters.

A number of cases attracted significant public attention, including Australia’s requests for the extradition of Jayant Patel from the United States and of Tony Mokbel from Greece. Mokbel was surrendered to Australia by Greece on 17 May 2008, and the Patel proceedings were continuing at the end of the reporting period. On 9 January 2008, Lawrence Rivera was surrendered to the United States to face trial for murder. This followed a lengthy litigation process dating from 2002.

We provided advice in a number of significant cases involving challenges to Australia’s extradition and mutual assistance arrangements, including Zentai v Republic of Hungary and Others [2008] HC 14; Mokbel v Attorney-General for the Commonwealth of Australia [2007] FCAFC 161; Dunn v Australian Crime Commission and Others [2008] FCA 424; and Minister for Home Affairs v Tervonen [2008] FCAFC 24.

Working with countries in the region

The Division worked successfully with partners in South-East Asia and the Pacific on international criminal justice initiatives. The Anti-Money Laundering Assistance Team helped Pacific island countries develop measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, which has reduced opportunities for laundering illicit funds in the region. Papua New Guinea has now established a Financial Intelligence Unit and Fiji has implemented a regime for reporting significant cash movements at its borders. The team coordinated training for prosecuting authorities, police, customs agencies and financial intelligence units from Pacific island countries during the year.

The number of officers from the Department deployed to Papua New Guinea under the Strongim Gavman Program (formally the Enhanced Cooperation Program) increased from four to seven during the year. The officers work across the PNG law and justice sector to assist the PNG Government to address core challenges.

The Regional Legal Assistance Unit organised two major multilateral training workshops co-hosted by Australia and Indonesia at the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation in November 2007. The workshops focused on international crime cooperation in a counter-terrorism context and the implementation of relevant international instruments, and involved police, prosecutors and government officials from nations across the Asia–Pacific.

The Unit also continued to work bilaterally with regional countries on the development of legislative regimes to counter terrorism and to promote international cooperation. Laws enacted in Cambodia and Vietnam during the reporting year will provide the basis for enhanced international legal cooperation by those countries in future.

The Division managed Australia’s chairing of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Anti-Corruption and Transparency Experts Task Force during 2007. In September 2007, APEC leaders and ministers endorsed four significant anti-corruption initiatives developed by the task force.

Australia’s international crime cooperation arrangements

In 2007–08, the Division coordinated a series of treaty negotiations on international crime cooperation. While some treaty negotiations are continuing, bilateral treaties with India and the United Arab Emirates (on extradition and mutual legal assistance), and with China (on extradition and the international transfer of prisoners) were successfully concluded. A protocol to Australia’s extradition agreement with Hong Kong entered into force.

We also refined proposals to amend the Extradition Act 1988 and the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 1987, which are intended to improve Australia’s legislative basis for cooperating with other countries to combat crime.

Outlook

Mutual assistance and extradition casework remains complex and the number of requests involving Australia continues to grow. The sophistication and scope of transnational organised crime requires increased coordination across jurisdictions. We have sought to address these pressures through additional staff, but the volume of work presents a continuing challenge.

Our engagement with other countries in the region is likely to increase. We will be commencing major programs to assist Indonesia on international legal cooperation and the prosecution of transnational crime, and will be working closely with key countries in the Pacific on the review and reform of police legislation and related criminal laws.

We propose to negotiate a series of bilateral treaties on crime cooperation with priority countries and to contribute to key multilateral initiatives. Subject to government consideration, an exposure draft bill on reforms to Australia’s extradition and mutual assistance arrangements will be released in 2008–09 with a view to introducing possible legislative changes.

Performance indicators
Quantitative and qualitative

Output 2.2

Policy advice on, and program administration and regulatory activities associated with, the Commonwealth’s responsibilities for international criminal justice issues and meeting Australia’s obligations for extradition and mutual assistance

Activity

Performance indicator

Result

Policy advice provided to ministers Quantity 2006–07 2007–08
Submissions to ministers 203
Cabinet submissions
Ministerial correspondence* 271
Responses to questions on notice 6
Briefs 302
Speeches 4
Quality Advice to ministers provided within agreed timeframes Achieved

All advice sought was provided within agreed timeframes.
Extent of satisfaction of ministers as measured by periodic feedback from ministers and their offices Highly satisfied

The offices of both ministers expressed a high degree of satisfaction in relation to policy advice and commented favourably on its accuracy.
Advice provided to other agencies Quantity 2006–07 2007–08
Items of legal/policy/operational advice 619
Quality Advice provided within agreed timelines Achieved

Almost all advice was provided within agreed timelines.
Advice provided is respected by client agencies, as measured by periodic feedback Achieved

Stakeholders indicated they are satisfied with the service level.

Agencies stated the Division’s advice was generally timely, accurate and comprehensive. A number of agencies emphasised their strong working relationships with the Division.
Meeting the Government’s legislative requirements in international criminal law and international cooperation in criminal matters Quantity 2006–07 2007–08
Number of Bills introduced and Acts passed in reporting period:
– Bills 0
– Acts 0
Quality Steps taken to implement the recommendations of finalised reviews (where applicable) Substantially achieved

Work is progressing on the implementation of reforms to Australia’s extradition and mutual assistance arrangements.
Supporting the needs of ministers with portfolio responsibility for international criminal justice and cooperation issues Quality Extent of satisfaction of ministers as measured by periodic feedback from ministers and their offices Highly satisfied

Ministers’ feedback was consistently positive.
Administration and regulatory activities associated with the Commonwealth’s international responsibilities for criminal justice in the areas of:– extradition – mutual assistance – Criminal Justice Certificates Quantity 2006–07 2007–08
Identified actions undertaken:
– Extradition 46; 24 requests made and 22 requests received 27; 15 requests made and 12 requests received
– Mutual assistance 459; 220 requests made and 239 requests received 515; 225 requests made and 290 requests received
– Criminal Justice Certificates 303 253
Quality Effectiveness (description of any relevant matters that have impacted on effectiveness during the reporting period—for example, introduction of new case management techniques) Achieved

The Division implemented a new casework management database, which has increased its effectiveness in dealing with extradition and mutual assistance matters.
Advancing and protecting Australia’s criminal justice interests through international engagement including participation in international bodies and negotiation of treaties and other international arrangements Quantity 2006–07 2007–08
International agreements concluded during the reporting period 0 6 treaties signed, one protocol entered into force.
Bodies in which the Department has taken an active role during the reporting period International Criminal Court, APEC Anti-Corruption and Transparency Experts Task Force, Pacific Islands Law Officers’ Network.
Quality Key achievements during the reporting period Conclusion of major extradition treaties with China, India and the United Arab Emirates, APEC endorsement of anti-corruption initiatives developed under Australia’s leadership, and conducted several major multilateral workshops on international crime cooperation.
Provision of international regional assistance in the context of counter-terrorism Quantity 2006–07 2007–08
Countries assisted 4 The Regional Legal Assistance Unit assisted 4 countries on a bilateral basis and 12 on a multilateral basis.

The Anti-Money Laundering Assistance Team assisted 14 countries on measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
Quality Uptake of model legislation in the region Achieved

Key laws on counter-terrorism and international legal cooperation were enacted in Cambodia and Vietnam following assistance from the Division.

* The number of ministerials relates to the number of actions in relation to ministerial correspondence.

† Briefs include papers on current issues, possible parliamentary questions (new and updated) and meeting briefs.

‡ The number of advices provided by output have been derived from the Department’s annual workload survey and represent a snapshot obtained by aggregating data from four separate one-week periods—two from parliamentary sitting periods and two from non-sitting periods.

Performance information for Output 2.2—administered items

Administered item

Performance indicator

Result

Australia’s contribution to the International Criminal Court Quality Funds provided in accordance with legislation and any relevant agreement or arrangement Achieved

Australia’s assessed contribution was paid in accordance with its obligations under the Rome Statute.
Budget price: $7.428 million Actual price: $3.536 million

Our people

The extradition of Tony Mokbel … just one of many cases

Ciara Henshaw, International Crime Cooperation Division.

Ciara Henshaw, International Crime
Cooperation Division.

The extradition of convicted cocaine trafficker Tony Mokbel was only one of more than 100 matters for which the Extradition Unit was responsible in 2007–08. As the Unit’s highest profile case during the reporting year it attracted intense media scrutiny and public interest, which presented unique challenges for the officers involved.

‘One of the key challenges was ensuring sensitive information about the extradition process was protected appropriately,’ Ciara Henshaw, the case officer, said.

‘It was important that details of the surrender not be disclosed or confirmed to prevent any negative impact on the surrender itself and on the safety of the escorting officers, as well as Tony Mokbel.’

On 29 May 2007, Australia made a request to Greece for the provisional arrest of Mr Mokbel. A formal request seeking Mr Mokbel’s extradition from Greece was presented to Greek authorities on
5 July 2007.

Following several legal challenges in the highest courts in Greece and Australia, Mr Mokbel was finally surrendered to Melbourne on 17 May 2008 to serve the sentence in prison for his Commonwealth conviction for knowingly importing a trafficable quantity of cocaine, and to face prosecution for a further 18 Commonwealth and Victorian offences.

‘The extradition of Mr Mokbel was the result of a strong partnership between the Department, our counterparts in Greece, and Commonwealth and Victorian law enforcement and prosecuting authorities,’ Susanna Ford, Extradition Unit Director, said.

‘This extradition demonstrates the importance of international legal cooperation as a vital tool in ensuring that criminals can not evade justice simply by crossing borders.’