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Annual Report 2008-09 Output 2.2

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International criminal justice cooperation

Summary

The Department advanced Australia’s engagement in international cooperative efforts against crime through a broad range of activities that contribute to achieving Output 2.2. We worked closely with law enforcement agencies in Australia and overseas to meet Australia’s international responsibilities for cooperation in extradition, mutual assistance in criminal matters and the international transfer of prisoners.

The Department completed several significant and high profile cases involving coordination with domestic and foreign law enforcement agencies. We also worked with key countries in South East Asia and the Pacific to help strengthen legal frameworks on criminal justice matters, including policing reforms, counter-terrorism legislation, anti-corruption measures and laws to combat people smuggling. We coordinated treaty negotiations on international crime cooperation, and prepared key proposals for reform of Australia’s extradition and mutual assistance laws.

Major achievements

In 2008–09, the Department continued to develop Australia’s relationships with new extradition partners, which strengthened efforts to ensure that people wanted for serious offences are brought to justice. A number of countries surrendered people to Australia for the first time, including Indonesia, that surrendered a person to face prosecution for child sex offences, and Cambodia that surrendered a person to face prosecution for drug offences. Australia also successfully extradited a person to Denmark to face prosecution for alleged arson.

We continued to reform our casework management practices, and improve the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of mutual assistance and extradition casework. Appendix 11 provides details of extradition and mutual assistance matters.

A number of cases attracted significant public attention, including Australia’s requests for extradition of Hadi Ahmadi—the first alleged people smuggler extradited from Indonesia; and for Stephen Hutton from the United Kingdom on 6 April 2009 to face prosecution in Victoria for the alleged murder of his partner in 1985. Hutton appealed the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State’s decision to extradite him and the High Court of England and Wales dismissed his appeal.

The Department provided advice in a number of significant cases involving challenges to Australia’s extradition and mutual assistance arrangements, including:

  • Dunn v Australian Crime Commission and Others [2009] FCAFC 16
  • Tervonen v Finland [2009] FCAFC 3
  • Snedden v Republic of Croatia [2009] FCA 30
  • Mehl v Federal Republic of Germany [2009] FCA 36
  • Zentai v Republic of Hungary [2009] FCA 284
  • O’Donoghue v Ireland [2009] FCA 618, and
  • Ngo v United States of America [2008] NSWSC 1186.

The High Court refused special leave to appeal in Tervonen v Minister for Home Affairs and in Tervonen v Republic of Finland & Anor [2009] HCA Trans 139 on 9 June 2009.

Working with countries in the region

The Department worked successfully with partner countries in South East Asia and the Pacific on a diverse range of international criminal justice activities. These activities are intended to protect the security of Australians and the Australian economy from threats posed by criminal activities both within Australia and abroad. They also contribute to protection of other countries, particularly those within the Asia–Pacific, from threats posed by such activities.

The Department coordinated a number of workshops for Pacific Island countries on anti-money laundering measures. These provided training to financial intelligence analysts, police and prosecutors throughout the region on investigating and prosecuting money laundering and on confiscating assets and proceeds of crime. We also conducted bilateral training programs for a number of Pacific countries, including helping Papua New Guinea attain full membership of the Asia–Pacific Group on Money Laundering. The Department’s work on anti-money laundering measures in the Pacific continues to reduce opportunities for criminals to launder illicit funds throughout the region.

The number of departmental officers deployed to Papua New Guinea under the Strongim Gavman Program increased from seven to eleven during the year. These officers work across the Papua New Guinea law and justice sector to help the Papua New Guinean Government address core challenges. The Department also continued to provide the interim secretariat for the Pacific Islands Law Officers’ Network.

This year the Department also began work on measures to strengthen policing and criminal legislative frameworks in Pacific Island countries; projects are underway with Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga and Tuvalu.

The Department continued its bilateral work with key regional partners in South East Asia. We worked with Indonesia to deliver two major joint training programs. One has helped improve the capacity of Indonesian agencies to make and respond to requests for extradition and mutual assistance; the other has provided training on the effective prosecution of transnational crimes. We worked with the Australian Federal Police to develop laws to reform the Cambodian National Police and delivered training to officials in Vietnam on international crime cooperation procedures.

In 2008–09 the Department delivered a series of training seminars for senior Cambodian officials on using its new laws to counter-terrorism and promote international cooperation. The legislation has subsequently been used to investigate and prosecute an attempted terrorist bombing in Phnom Penh in January 2009.

In partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Department began a pilot project to implement the APEC Code of Conduct for Business in Chile, Thailand and Vietnam. The project will assist small and medium size enterprises implement anti corruption initiatives under the code of conduct.

Australia’s international crime cooperation arrangements

The Department is actively promoting the Australian Government’s priorities in international crime cooperation. We coordinated a series of bilateral treaty negotiations with other countries relating to extradition, mutual assistance and international transfer of prisoners. While several negotiations are continuing, we successfully concluded a treaty with Vietnam on transfer of prisoners, and the mutual assistance treaty with Thailand was brought into force.

The Department also worked with the Department of Defence and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Australia’s participation in International Criminal Court activities, including negotiations on the elements of the proposed crime of aggression. We also worked in various United Nations forums to strengthen cooperation against corruption and transnational crime.

As Australia’s central authority for extradition and mutual assistance in criminal matters, the Department has a key responsibility to ensure Australia’s domestic legal frameworks for such matters remain effective and up-to-date. The Department worked with key Government agencies to finalise exposure draft legislation to amend the Extradition Act 1988 and the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 1987, which will be released for public consultation in July 2009. The draft legislation will provide a more responsive and streamlined basis upon which Australia can cooperate with other countries in fighting 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 and cooperation across jurisdictions. The Department has adopted an additional function of drafting mutual assistance requests for Commonwealth investigations from the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. We have sought to improve case management processes, but the volume of work presents a continuing challenge.

In 2009–10, the Department will take on new assistance and capacity building work to enhance the ability of African countries to comply with United Nations conventions and other international criminal justice obligations. It will also work with partner countries in Asia and the Pacific on legal frameworks against people smuggling. This work will present new challenges in securing improvements in the criminal justice systems and capacity of other countries.

The Department will also be working with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and AusAID on broader measures to enhance Australia’s law and justice sector cooperation in the Pacific.

We expect to finalise several regional anti-corruption projects, and to continue leading Australia’s negotiations on international crime cooperation treaties and related instruments.

The Department will work closely with relevant government agencies, stakeholders and interested groups to refine proposed reforms to the Extradition Act 1988 and the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 1987.

Performance indicators

Table 15: Performance indicators, Output 2.2—International criminal justice cooperation

Key performance indicators 2008–09 target Result

Administration and regulatory activities associated with the Commonwealth’s international responsibilities for criminal cooperation in relation to extradition, mutual assistance and criminal justice certificates are processed accurately and in a timely manner

All requests for mutual assistance and extradition are processed in accordance with applicable treaty obligations and statutory deadlines

Achieved

The Department has identified new practices designed to improve efficiency in responding to and making mutual assistance and extradition requests and processing international transfer of prisoner applications.

Funding arrangements for the International Criminal Court are managed effectively

Annual assessed contribution towards the operation of the court is authorised and provided in accordance with Australia’s obligations under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Achieved

Australia’s assessed contribution was paid in accordance with its obligations under the Rome Statute.

Legal and policy advice is effective and delivers positive outcomes for the Australian Government in pursuit of international criminal matters

Ministers and key agencies express a high degree of satisfaction as to the quality, effectiveness and timeliness of advice and associated work on policy development

Achieved

Feedback from ministers and key agencies was consistently positive.

The provision of technical assistance within the region meets effectively the interests of Australia and other countries in promoting international crime cooperation

Assistance is provided in accordance with Australian Government priorities, and relevant foreign authorities express satisfaction as to its quality and effectiveness

Achieved

Intensive bilateral assistance programs were conducted with three countries in South East Asia, and seven Pacific Island countries. The Department also coordinated assistance through multilateral initiatives to 14 countries. Feedback from participating foreign authorities was very positive.

 

Administered Items Results

Australia’s contribution to the International Criminal Court

Achieved

Australia’s assessed contribution of $2,642,198 was paid to the International Criminal Court in accordance with Australia’s obligations under the Rome Statute. Australia also contributed $100,000 to the Court’s Internship and Visiting Professionals program and $70,000 to its Trust Fund for the Participation of Least Developed Countries in the Assembly of State Parties.

Budget price: $8.476 million

Actual price: $2.876 million

Pacific Police Development program

Achieved

The Department established a Pacific Section to provide Forum Island countries with legal policy and legislative assistance on criminal and policing matters under the program. Work has commenced on nine projects spread across four different Forum Island countries.

Budget price: $0.228 million

Actual price: $0.147 million


Our people

Law and Justice in the Asia-Pacific

Danielle Ireland-Piper and Stephen Plummer, International Assistance and Treaties Branch, International Crime Cooperation Division

Danielle Ireland-Piper and Stephen Plummer,
International Assistance and Treaties Branch,
International Crime Cooperation Division
.

Helping to protect Australia against the threat of criminal activity

The Department provides technical legal assistance to various countries, including those in South East Asia and the Pacific. This assistance enhances participants’ capacity to cooperate effectively on mutual assistance and extradition, and to fight and prosecute transnational crime.

Staff work with governments in partner countries to deliver workshops, legal training and mentoring. As Danielle Ireland-Piper, in the Regional Legal Assistance Unit notes, ‘Crimes like terrorism, people smuggling, human trafficking, cyber crime and money laundering easily cross national borders. This makes it extremely important for the international community to cooperate to harmonise domestic laws criminalising these activities, and to bring those accused of these crimes before the courts.

‘The training programs and workshops we run enhance Australia’s engagement with partner countries, such as Indonesia, and increase participants’ capacity to use legal tools to combat transnational crime.’

Training programs represent extensive collaboration with a range
of Australian and international agencies. They involve hundreds
of officials from various countries and deliver unprecedented levels
of international cooperation in law and justice. This ultimately helps promote a stable, peaceful and prosperous international environment, particularly in the Asia–Pacific.

For example, the Department hosted two workshops in Brisbane in March and April 2009. The International Crime Cooperation workshop brought together 32 participants from 14 Pacific Island countries and East Timor to build the capacity of prosecutors and police to enhance international cooperative efforts against transnational crime. The Regional Judicial Workshop provided a forum for judges in the Pacific region to explore the implications of legislation designed to help recover the proceeds of crime.

‘Watching prosecutors and police learn about proceeds of crime and then stand up in court and make applications in front of judges from the participating Pacific Island countries was a highlight for me,’ explained Stephen Plummer, a Legal Officer working with Pacific Island countries.

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