Comesa urged to harmonise extradition laws

via Comesa urged to harmonise extradition laws | The Herald 3 July, 2014 by Nyemudzai Kakore

Zimbabwe has urged Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa member-states to harmonise their laws to enhance the bloc’s bilateral, crime and policing co-operation.
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Cde Ziyambi Ziyambi told participants at a Comesa workshop on the development of a migration database and information in Harare yesterday that it was critical for the grouping to harmonise laws to enable member states to coordinate police investigations and deal with extradition matters.

“We have issues like human trafficking and several laws that are different so that we will not be able to get people who may have committed a crime here,” he said.

“We want Comesa to discuss the realignment of laws so that we can extradite offenders within our countries. After the workshop you should report back and we will take up recommendations and work on those recommendations as soon as we can.”

Currently Comesa states have different laws regarding the repatriation of offenders, making it difficult to deal with suspects who commit crimes in member coun- tries.

The bloc is facing challenges in dealing with criminals who commit crimes in one member state and flee to another, taking advantage of loopholes in extradition laws.

Deputy Minister Ziyambi said it was important for Comesa to learn from the experiences of the European Union when it came to matters related to intelligence sharing and co-ordinating police investigations.

EU countries, through mutual assistance protocols, provide and obtain formal government to government assistance in criminal investigations and prosec- utions.

Mutual assistance is also used to recover the proceeds of crime.

Deputy Minister Ziyambi said the setting up of Migration Data and Information Sharing Systems was central to the implementation of free movement of persons as well as finding ways of managing criminal investigations and extradition matters.

He also urged all Comesa members to establish one-stop border posts to enhance the movement of goods and people between member states.

“It would not be amiss to give a clarion call to all Comesa member states to follow suit and establish one-stop border posts as one way of easing immigration barriers as Comesa forges its way towards a Customs Union,” Cde Ziyambi said.

Comesa is a grouping of 19 African states which have agreed to promote regional integration by intraregional trade for the mutual benefit of their peoples.

Participants at the workshop were drawn from the 19 member states which a population of about 390 million.