Lawmakers urge ministries to sign more legal assistance agreements

29-May-2020 Intellasia | TaipeiTimes | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Lawmakers yesterday urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the Ministry of Justice to sign mutual legal assistance pacts with more nations, as Taiwan has signed such agreements with only six countries.

The legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, and the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee held a joint meeting to review the Treaty on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters signed by minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang and Nauruan minister for Finance and Justice David Adeang in Taipei in August last year.

The agreement has not come into effect as the government is still reviewing its content, which does not involve criminal extradition, MOFA Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs deputy director-General Chang Chun-yu said in response to questions from Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lo Chih-Cheng.

Taiwan has signed similar agreements regarding criminal matters with Nauru, Poland, the US, the Philippines and South Africa, and signed an agreement regarding civil affairs with Vietnam, MOFA Department of Treaty and Legal Affairs director-General Liang Kuang-chung said.

It has also inked agreements on the transfer of sentenced criminals with Eswatini, Denmark, the UK and Germany, he said.

Asked by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Johnny Chiang about other signatory nations prioritised by the government, Liang said they include Palau and Southeast Asian countries.

Legal cooperation pacts should cover criminal and civil affairs, as many legal disputes span both areas, DPP Legislator Wang Ting-yu said, asking why the treaties only involved one of the areas.

Since Taiwan and Vietnam signed a cooperation pact in civil affairs in 2010, Vietnam has requested Taiwan’s assistance in 3,671 cases, while Taiwan requested its assistance in 3,914 cases, data provided by Wang showed.

By comparison, the US has requested Taiwan’s help in 95 cases, while Taiwan has requested the US’ help in 191 cases after the two signed a cooperation pact for criminal affairs in 2002, the data showed.

Given frequent bilateral exchanges, the amount of Taiwan-US legal cooperation would have been higher if there had been a bilateral pact to jointly review civil affairs, which are now tackled on a case-by-case basis, Wang said.

The government would strive to make its legal pacts with other countries encompass more areas, vice minister of Justice Chang Tou-hui said.

Asked by Wang why there is no legal assistance agreement with Japan, Liang said the Japanese government is considering certain matters about an agreement, while the government is working to negotiate with Tokyo over related issues.


Category: Taiwan

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