Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Where Is The Justice?

17 September 2004

A Legal Win For NZ Govt On Zaoui - But Where Is The Justice?

Far from vindicating the Government's position on the imprisonment of Algerian refugee, Ahmed Zaoui, today?='s Court of Appeal decision finding that his imprisonment is legal emphasizes the duty of the Government to ensure he receives a fair hearing of the allegations made against him, Amnesty International said in a statement issued this afternoon.

In a 2-1 majority judgment the Court decided that Mr Zaoui's detention was not unlawful or - at this stage - 'arbitrary', and he could not therefore be granted bail or moved to less restrictive detention, despite psychologists findings that continued imprisonment was adding to the effects of trauma suffered by Mr Zaoui during his time in detention in Algeria and his subsequent decade in exile.

Describing the position in which the Court found itself, Justice McGrath argued that "The ability of a court to exercise a judicial discretion in the grant of bail requires some understanding by the Judge of underlying matters raised by the certificate. That is simply not available". The Court cannot conclude that there is no risk arising from his release, because it does not and cannot have, before it the classified security information on which the security risk certificate is based.

During the case the New Zealand Government appeared to be arguing that a refugee subject to a security risk certificate could be imprisoned indefinitely despite no provision in place for a fair hearing of the reasons for his detention," said AIs NZ director, Ced Simpson.

Amnesty International has consistently argued that the security certificate review process - yet to get underway 21 months after Mr Zaouyik was first imprisoned - does not explicitly provide for a fair hearing of the allegations against Mr Zaoui, and has expressed concern that the Government has refused to put in place provisions outlined by the European Court of Human Rights as being necessary for a fair handling of refugee cases with a ?national security? dimension.

The review process does not, for example, provide for the ability of security-cleared counsel representing Mr Zaoui to challenge assertions by the Director of Security, making it inherently unfair, Mr Simpson said.

This is very disappointing coming from a government rightly committed to create and sustain a world-leading human rights environment.

As Justice Hammond put it,

"The notion of national 'security' is not a mantra, or a security blanket for the state, to be thrown lightly over an object. That 'object' is a human being, and the blanket can become oppressive and debilitating and disproportionate. (Justice Hammond [198])"

"To contend, in this day and age, that a person (not on a criminal charge) can be incarcerated for something like two years, with common (and not so common) criminals, whilst the state decides what to do with him, beggars description. What has happened here is that the relevant processes, taken as a whole, have not dealt timeously with Mr Zaoui. His incarceration has become oppressive, and quite disproportionate to the things which are said against him. (Justice Hammond [199])"

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Ministerial Inquiry: Broad Look At Mental Health And Addiction Services

The Government has taken a major step towards improving mental health and addiction services with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announcing details of a ministerial inquiry.

The Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction will be chaired by former Health and Disability Commissioner, Professor Ron Paterson, and will report back to the Government by the end of October. More>>

 

Wealth: Two NZers Own More Than Poorest 30%

A staggering 28 per cent of all wealth created in New Zealand in 2017 went to the richest 1 per cent of Kiwis, while the 1.4 million people who make up the poorest 30 per cent of the population got barely 1 per cent, according to new research released by Oxfam. More>>

ALSO:

Employment: Joint Working Group On Pay Equity Principles Reconvened

Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, Iain Lees-Galloway, and Minister for Women, Julie Anne Genter, are reconvening the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity Principles as the next step in pay equity for New Zealand women. More>>

ALSO:

Hapū: Prime Minister And Clarke Gayford Expecting First Child

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her partner, Clarke Gayford, have announced that they are expecting their first child in June. “We’re both really happy. We wanted a family but weren’t sure it would happen for us, which has made this news unexpected but exciting." More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: on the inquiry into the abuse of children in care

Apparently, PM Jacinda Ardern has chosen to exclude faith-based institutions from the government’s promised inquiry into the abuse of children in state care. Any role for religious institutions – eg the Catholic Church – would be only to observe and to learn from any revelations that arise from the inquiry’s self-limiting focus on state-run institutions… More >>

Gordon Campbell: On Jim Anderton
For anyone born after 1975, it is hard to grasp just how important a figure Jim Anderton was, for an entire generation.
During the mid to late 1980s, Anderton was the only significant public figure of resistance to the Labour government’s headlong embrace of Thatcherism...More>>

ALSO:


Gong Time: New Year's Honours List

Jacinda Ardern today congratulated the 179 New Zealanders named on the 2018 New Year’s Honours List. “Although this list was compiled and completed by the last government, it is a pleasure to welcome in the New Year by recognising exceptional New Zealanders,” Jacinda Ardern said. More
Full list

Roads: National launches bid to save highway projects

The National Party has launched a series of petitions aimed at saving regional highway projects at risk because of the Government’s obsession with Auckland trams…More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages