The extradition treaty between Zimbabwe and China came into force last Friday, with the publishing and gazetting of the text by Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe.
Under the treaty, each country undertakes to extradite to the other, those found in its territory and wanted by the other country for trial on criminal charges or to serve their sentence if they have already been tried.
However, neither country has to extradite its own nationals, but in that case undertakes to handle a prosecution under its own law.
That means a Zimbabwean who commits a crime in China and manages to get home before being arrested, can either be sent back to China for trial or can be tried in Zimbabwe on the similar local offence.
China would send over the evidence in that case. The same applies to a Chinese citizen committing an offence in Zimbabwe and getting home before arrest.
Extradition has to be for a something that is a crime in both countries and carries a jail term in both countries of at least one year.
However, when it comes to extradition to serving a sentence, extradition is possible when only six months still remains to be served.
Both countries have to refuse extradition for political offences, but terrorism offences and the like defined under international conventions are not regarded as political. Neither country is allowed to extradite if they have substantial grounds for believing that the resulting prosecution is on account of the person’s race, sex, religion, nationality or political opinions, of if they fear the trial may be influenced by those factors. Pure military offences are not grounds for extradition.
Extradition has to be refused if the country holding the wanted person has already rendered a final judgment or terminated criminal proceedings on the same crime, or if the wanted person might be tortured or subjected to cruel or degrading treatment or punishment. If the wanted person was tried in absentia the country wanting that person must promise to have a new trial with the accused present.
If either country is already trying the wanted person on the same offence they have the option of continuing that criminal process rather than extraditing. They can also refuse extradition on humanitarian grounds considering the wanted person’s age, health and other personal circumstances.