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Julian Assange & universal jurisdiction IPEX (Interpol and Extradition) Reform

Julian Assange & universal jurisdiction: IPEX (Interpol and Extradition) Reform

The international community is questioning America's justice system for what is seen as unequal application of the law in New York’s indictment of President Trump. America is being branded as hypocritical for exporting “democracy” to “autocratic” states when a substantial portion of foreigners see America as weaponising its judicial system against political opposition.

The American system is politicised to levels unseen in other democratic countries. Judges are appointed on the basis of their political leanings, Attorney General’s are elected on their political promises, and prosecutors go after targets who will enhance their political careers. We might think that’s America’s mess to sort out but the problem is when the US decides its jurisdiction doesn’t end at its own borders.

America has legitimised its ability to indict foreigners for crimes committed outside of America by non-American persons simply because other countries allow it.

There are numerous examples of America indicting foreigners and that’s fine, they can indict all they want. The issue is when foreign jurisdictions agree to extradite individuals to the US, people who have perhaps never even been to the country, people who have not committed a crime in the jurisdiction where they live and who haven't violated international law. Why should foreigners need to check local American laws before they act?

In respect of Julian Assange, a simple test to determine whether extradition is unethical would be to ask what the UK would do if another country attempted the same.

If China sought to extradite Julian Assange for exposing their regime’s violations despite him not doing it in China, would we allow extradition? No, and the same can be said for other allied nations. If I exposed Saudi wrongdoing from the US, would I be extradited to Saudi? No. Saudi, the UAE and China have no right to dictate that I abide by their laws.

If you live in the UK and abide by British law, that is the only law you should be required to abide by. Sure, if you violate Saudi rules from the UK and voluntarily return to Saudi, you might be punished but the UK should not extradite you. The same can be said in Julian Assange’s case.

The US should aim to persuade allied countries to make legislative changes that would support US policies but they should not be able to enforce their own laws onto people who do not live in America and who are not American.


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