By Yonas Abiye
The Federal Attorney General, formerly the Ministry of Justice, has presented a bill that amends an extradition agreement between Ethiopia and its neighbor Sudan, which was signed back in 1972, before the Houses of People’s Representatives (HPR) on Tuesday.
The two countries signed the new treaty four years ago in May 2012 to enhance their cooperation in fighting crime and criminal activities in the region.
Presenting the draft document before the House, Deputy Government Whip, Amanuel Abrha said that the latest treaty is intended to strengthen the cooperation between the two countries by renewing the same agreement they had signed in 1972 under the auspices of preventing and suppressing organized crimes in the region. He indicated that it is necessary to ensure peace and stability as well as fighting against cooperation against terrorism among the two nations.
The treaty lists the major extraditable offenses and the procedure each party should follow to fulfill the extradition requirement and extradite criminals.
According to the agreement, a country can request an extradition of a criminal if and when at the time of the request the crimes committed are punishable under the laws of the two countries and provided that the minimum penalty for the offense is at least one year of simple imprisonment.
Similarly, the treaty also lists out 15 conditions that proclaim grounds for refusal to extradition. Among them is when the suspects are wanted in connection with political matters, race or issues in relation to person’s religion.
Apart from the extradition treaty, the house has also reviewed another bill that provides for trade, economic and technical cooperation between Ethiopia and Sudan.
In a related development, the houses also received another bill that stipulates cooperation in the military fields between Ethiopia and Turkey. The framework agreement that is referred to as Cooperation Agreement in the Military Field was singed a decade ago in Ankara, Turkey between Samora Yonus (Gen.), Chief of the General Staff of the Ethiopian Armed Forces, and Hilmi Ozkok (Gen.), Commander of the Turkish Armed Forces.
According to the cooperation agreement, the two nations seek to cooperate in the areas of military training and education, defense industry, air force, ground force, logistics, military history, archives, publications and museology among others.
It has been noted that the principle of the cooperation include taking into consideration their common interest, mutual benefits and their respective requirements. They have also agreed to exchange visits by personnel at every level as deemed necessary so as to strengthen their cooperation. Similarly, their principle also includes that they should conclude supplementary instruments to further determine the detail of the cooperation in the field.