UK ruling in Dean case recognizes the judicial sovereignty of Taiwan
By Joy Lee, The China Post
June 13, 2014, 12:04 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A court in Edinburgh ruled on Wednesday to extradite to Taiwan fugitive Zain Dean — the British businessman who fled Taiwan to avoid his prison term for a hit-and-run death in Taipei.
The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) said that this ruling sets a historical precedent as the first extradition between Taiwan and the UK. In fact, this extradition also marks a crucial victory for Taiwan: it recognizes Taiwan's judicial sovereignty and protection of human rights.
Throughout the 67 pages of verdict on this extradition case, the British court spent five pages on the definition of territory and whether or not UK should accept a judicial case proposed by Taiwan.
The judge stated in the verdict that Taiwan has a population of 25 million people, a stable government, excellent international relations, a booming exporting market and a democratic system that is approved by other countries.
Even though Taiwan is not a member of the United Nations, based on the statements in the verdict and the fact that the UK signed a memorandum of understanding with Taiwan in October 2013 specifically to pave the way for Dean's extradition is a recognition of Taiwan's judicial sovereignty.
Another fact that Taiwanese people should feel proud of in this case is written on the fiftieth page of the verdict, which suggests that Dean enjoyed a complete and fair trial in Taiwan and there is no evidence showing that Dean's human rights were violated.
In the verdict it talks about an extradition case proposed by the Republic of Albania that was turned down by the British court because the country does not meet British standards for the protection of human rights.
The Republic of Albania has a diplomatic relationship with the UK. However, it was Taiwan, the country that does not have official diplomatic relationships, which successfully had a fugitive extradited. It is undeniable that Taiwan's standard on protecting human rights in the judicial system is approved and recognized internationally.
When five condemned prisoners were executed in late April of this year, Amnesty International issued a statement asking Taiwan to cease executing condemned prisoners and launch a national debate on whether or not the death penalty should be abolished.
However, based on the latest survey published by Crime Research Center of the National Chung Cheng University in this January, 79.7 percent of people support the idea of retaining capital punishment and executing condemned prisoners based on a judge's rulings.
Taiwan is not the only place in the world that executes prisoners. Singapore, Japan and the United States are among those countries that still have the death penalty. When people in Taiwan express their opinions supporting it and the UK, a country that stopped executing prisoners in 1964, agrees to extradite its own citizen to Taiwan because it believes in its judicial system, maybe it is time for some international organizations to learn to respect the opinion of a nation's citizens since they are the ones who are responsible for the policies made by the government.
The Dean extradition case does not only mark the victory of Taiwan's judicial system by bringing a fugitive to justice. It also proves to the world that Taiwan owns the judicial sovereignty and human rights are not just written statements in regulations but something we value and practice.