December 12, 2018 - Ottawa, ON - Department of Justice Canada
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, issued the following statement:
“As the Minister of Justice, I take my extradition responsibilities and obligations very seriously. Ms. Wanzhou Meng is sought for extradition by the United States and is currently being afforded due process before the courts. Ms. Meng was granted bail yesterday under strict conditions set by the court. Given interest in this case, I would like to clarify key aspects of Canada’s extradition process.
It is internationally understood and accepted that people who are alleged to have committed crimes in another country should be surrendered to that country to address the charges.
The Extradition Act implements Canada’s international obligations under extradition treaties to surrender people sought for prosecution or to serve a sentence imposed against them in the foreign state. Extradition proceedings are conducted in accordance with the rule of law and constitutional principles.
Canada’s extradition process protects the rights of the person sought by ensuring that extradition will not be granted if, among other things, it is contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including the principles of fundamental justice. Ms. Meng is currently being afforded due process by the courts – as would any person arrested on Canadian soil. Canada benefits from an independent and impartial judiciary. This ensures that a fair and unbiased process will unfold.
Ms. Meng was arrested pursuant to a provisional arrest warrant issued by a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, a procedure which is contemplated in both the Extradition Act and the Treaty on Extradition between Canada and the United States in circumstances where urgency has been established. The decision to seek a provisional arrest warrant from the court is made by Department of Justice officials without any political interference or direction.
The next steps in the case are as follows:
- Under the terms of the extradition treaty, the United States has 60 days from the date of Ms. Meng’s arrest to make a full extradition request.
- Department of Justice officials have a further 30 days to determine whether to issue an Authority to Proceed which will formally commence the extradition process.
- Should an Authority to Proceed be issued, an extradition hearing will be scheduled by the British Columbia Supreme Court.
At each stage of the extradition process in Canada, there is careful balancing of the interests of the person sought for extradition against Canada’s international obligations. The person sought is able to challenge their extradition at multiple levels, both before the superior and appellate courts in Canada, and by making submissions to me on the issue of surrender.
If the superior courts and any appeal courts ultimately approve a “committal” for extradition, then as the Minister of Justice, I will ultimately have to decide on the issue of surrender of the person sought for extradition. Therefore, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the facts of this case at this time. Doing so would risk undermining both the independence of the court proceedings and the proper functioning of Canada’s extradition process.
In order to safeguard due process and to respect the independence of the courts, it is essential that the Crown’s position in this matter, as in all court proceedings, be presented in the court room where it can be properly considered.”
Other relevant information: