Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Ronald Lamola says international cooperation is essential in the fight against sophisticated multinational crime.

The department has published a draft law on extradition for public comment.

The minister noted that the State Commission on Capture demonstrated how intricate and sophisticated corruption schemes can be and that the state needs to protect itself from it in every possible way.

“Some of these schemes often involve a commission [with regard to] criminal activity in multiple jurisdictions. This is a challenge for our criminal law, especially for law enforcement and prosecutors. To solve this problem, we need to improve our capacity for international cooperation in its various forms.

“Effective international cooperation is critical to the successful investigation and prosecution of high-profile and complex corruption and malfeasance cases,” Lamola said.

The agency explained that the bill is aimed at bringing South Africa into line with modern international standards.

“The international community has developed a number of mechanisms of international cooperation in criminal cases, related, in particular, to extradition, mutual legal assistance, transfer of criminal proceedings, transfer of convicted persons, recognition of decisions of foreign criminal jurisdictions, freezing or confiscation of assets and cooperation between law enforcement agencies. These mechanisms cover all types of crime – international, transnational or national – including terrorism.

“The current Extradition Law No. 67 of 1962 has become obsolete. This is inconsistent with the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, current extradition practice and inconsistent with all procedures currently followed internationally,” the department said.

The new bill, if passed and approved, is expected to address these deficiencies.

“The changes proposed in the bill also provide for the seizure of property that can be transferred to the state that requested the extradition. It clarifies the role of magistrates in extradition proceedings and provides for temporary arrest, extradition of a person wanted by an international organization in connection with international crimes such as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“Now the only international structure to which persons can be extradited is the International Criminal Court,” the agency noted.

Public comments and questions on the bill are open until October 4 of this year.

“After the deadline for receiving comments, all comments will be reviewed and evaluated, and the draft law will be revised taking into account these comments.

“Only after that, the bill will be sent to the cabinet for approval to be introduced in the parliament. Once in Parliament, the public will have further opportunities to contribute to the bill as it moves through the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces,” the department explained.

Comments should be submitted to Ms. R. Baloyi no later than October 4, 2022.

Comments can be posted to: Department of Justice and Constitutional Development Head Office: Legislative Development, Private Bag X81, Pretoria, 0001.

Comments can be sent by email to RegoBaloyi@justice.gov.za

Send a fax to 012 406 4769. – SAnews.gov.za

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