PNG Parliament Considers Border Treaty With Indonesia

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Extradition deal could possibly target West Papua refugees

By Isaac Nicholas

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 28, 2015) – People who commit cross-border crimes will be extradited for prosecution under the Extradition Treaty between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia which went before Parliament yesterday for ratification.

Extradition is the transfer of an accused person from one country to another that seeks to place him on trial.

The Opposition and some Government MPs had cautioned that Indonesia may use the treaty to target West Papua refugees.

Justice Minister and Attorney-General Ano Pala, who sought Parliament ratification, said that extradition was an important part of prosecuting cross-border crimes.

"Today, numerous crimes such as terrorism, money laundering, drug trafficking and people trafficking have transnational elements, cutting across national boundaries," Mr Pala said.

He said the increase in transnational crime was influenced by globalisation, the emergence of new technologies, the ease of international financial transfers and the growth of international travel.

"This has made it increasingly common for people to commit criminal offences in one country and flee to another country to avoid justice," Mr Pala said.

He said PNG needed strong international cooperation on criminal matters with the different regions of the world. Mr Pala said PNG did not have any international cooperation in criminal matters with the Asian region and the signing of the Extradition Treaty between PNG and Indonesia last year by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill during his official visit to Indonesia was the first of such cooperation.

Sinasina-Yongomugl MP Kerenga Kua said this kind of law was important in that it followed people who committed crime in Indonesia and fled to PNG and vice versa to bring them to account.

Mr Kua said the only concern was the potential for political asylum seekers to be confused with criminals.

He said within the treaty must have mechanism in which people such as the West Papuans could be identified and isolated and not be treated in the same way as a common criminal.

"Once this document is ratified and has the force of law, we must be genuine in doing our own stock take to see whether we already have people amidst us to which this extradition treaty can be applied and that we must be careful not to take any action that impede the proper implementation of this treaty," Mr Kua said.

Deputy Opposition Leader Sam Basil had challenged Mr Pala to declare his interest in relation to Djoko Tjandra, alias Joe Chan, before the extradition treaty was ratified.

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