Danby critical of Bishop’s Zentai extradition questions

July 13, 2011 Agencies
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Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Foreign Affairs spokeswomen Julie Bishop has questioned the Australian Government’s proposed extradition of Charles Zentai who may face prosecution in Hungary for alleged war crimes.

Michael Danby

In formal questions, put to the Minister for Home Affairs, The Hon Brendan O’Connor, Ms Bishop asked why the Government had agreed to extradite Mr Zentai to Hungary, and what costs were incurred for extraditing him.

Michael Danby MP, Federal Member for Melbourne Ports, today criticised the essence of Ms Bishop’s questions. Bishop argues against the validity of the Government’s decision to support the extradition of Charles Zentai and the cost of Governments appeal against the Hon. Justice Neil Mckerracher decision in federal court in Perth in July 2010 to reject extradition.

“Mr Zentai is wanted for questioning over war crimes, specifically over the murder of an 18 year old Jewish man in Nazi-occupied Hungary in 1944. It is noteworthy that Australia’s 2nd ranking conservative Julie Bishop would question the Governments decision to extradite Mr Zentai, particularly as the Republic of Hungary made a formal request under the Treaty on Extradition between Australia and Hungary for his extradition,” Mr Danby said.

Mr Danby said it was important for those who committed war crimes during the Holocaust to be brought to justice.  “When countries in the former communist bloc were liberated, I successfully pushed the then Attorney General Amanda Vanstone to legislate to permit extradition to now democratic countries.”

“Mr Zentai may face prosecution for a war crime in Budapest, so it is surprising, given Ms Bishop’s past support for seeing those who committed crimes during the Holocaust brought to justice, that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition would question the Government for obliging by our international agreement. It appears from her questions that Ms Bishop is more worried about the costs incurred by extraditing Mr Zentai than allowing the Hungarian Government to make a decision whether he should be charged,” Mr Danby argued.

“There is no statute of limitations for murder. ”

He supported the Gillard Governments decision to challenge the decision not to extradite made by the Federal Court in Perth.

“ Presumably the national Government has assessed that in their opinion the decision by the Federal Court is wrong and is seeking to uphold the extradition process,” Mr Danby concluded.

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