Can Ukraine extradite an asylum seeker?

26 січня 2021

Ukraine is a signatory to the Convention on Status of Refugees. Article 33 of this document prohibits extradition of a person to the frontiers of territories where his/her life or freedom would be threatened on account of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. The same principle is enshrined in the Ukrainian legislation, particularly in the Criminal Procedure Code in the section on extradition.

 It is prohibited in Ukraine:

  • to send;
  • to extradite;
  • to forcibly return not only recognized refugees, but also persons who have applied for international protection (asylum seekers).

If another state applies to Ukraine with an official request for extradition, then an extradition check is mandatory.  It must be established whether there are circumstances that prevent the extradition of a person.

If a person applied to the State Migration Service of Ukraine with an application for refugee status or appealing a negative decision on his/her application, then this fact must be established during the extradition checking. In this case, the migration procedure will be the main argument for non extradition of a person.

The extradition procedure consists of the several stages:

  • another state makes an official appeal to Ukraine;
  • extradition checking;
  • decision on the extradition request (which can be appealed in court);
  • extradition.

The complexity of the procedure requires qualified legal assistance.

If you are a protection seeker and you are concerned that extradition may be initiated against you, be sure to inform your lawyer about that. In case extradition begins, legal assistance is essential.

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