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UK ruling in Dean case recognizes the judicial sovereignty of Taiwan

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.

June 13, 2014    Upwell@
Leaving aside all the technicalities which the lay people can never understand this judgment makes sense. Why should people who did obvious wrongs be entitled to abscond and not front up to explain? Common sense requires these people to explain, justify and if in the wrong face the consequences. It is true too that your country has an established system of justice albeit not perfect. But where on earth do we ever have a perfect system? Having been to many Asian countries over the years, whenever I visited Taiwan I never felt I need have any concern so long as I abide by its law. It even permits me to talk without fear of harassment, political issues. Something I would be careful to avoid in other Asian countries. Congratulations.
June 13, 2014    edmundrdn@
It is unfortunate that this article refers to the death penalty. That a Scottish court recognizes Taiwan and that it acknowledges that a Taiwanese trial is fair and the prisons conform to international standards cannot be taken as evidence that Taiwan's use of the death penalty conforms to human rights. Indeed, as a member of the Council of Europe, the UK would refuse any extradition to any country that sought to use the death penalty. It is also unfortunate that the article continues to falsely attribute to the Taiwanese people a marked preference for the death penalty. All surveys show that, when presented with the clear alternative of life imprisonment, only 50% people in Taiwan support use of the death penalty. The UK will never extradite persons to Taiwan if they are liable to face execution. Support for the judicial system in one case cannot be read as blanket support for everything that that system does.
June 13, 2014    briancherry.1@
The Court in Edinburgh operates under Scots Law which is a separate jurisdiction from the rest of the UK. I can't foresee there being any difference in outcome had the case been heard elsewhere in the UK but until a similar one is there's no way to tell if "the UK" would have ruled that ROC was a sovereign or even separate jurisdiction.

Another point to note is that the UK Courts recognize Hong Kong as a separate jurisdiction while the UK government recognizes that separate jurisdiction as part of the PRC. I think the article's over-egging the pudding a touch.
June 14, 2014    fearchar@
The commentator above is correct: no signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights would allow the extradition of anyone to a country that practiced torture or capital punishment. The two are usually linked and widely regarded as indications of intolerable threats to human dignity. That threat, sadly, still exists in Taiwan.

It is also worth pointing out that the existence of a judicature with adequate safeguards for the accused or convicted is in no way a recognition of the existence of a state, such as the Republic of China.
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