Japan: Top court overturns decision that nixed return of child to US


TOKYO (Kyodo) — The Supreme Court overturned on Thursday a lower court ruling that sided with a mother who brought her 13-year-old son to Japan from the United States and turned down the father’s request to return the child.

The top court made the first decision on cases in which the return of a child has yet to take place despite a finalized Japanese court order to take the child back based on the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

The Supreme Court’s First Petty Branch said it sees “clear illegality” in the mother’s failure to comply with the order and sent the case back to the Nagoya High Court’s Kanazawa branch for further deliberation.

The parents are both Japanese. A cross-border child custody battle began after the mother left their residence in the United States and returned to Japan with their second son in 2016.

Last November, the high court branch rejected the father’s plea to take the son back to his former habitual residence in accordance with the Hague Convention, citing the child’s wish to continue to live in Japan.

The treaty sets out rules and procedures for the prompt return to the country of habitual residence of children under 16 taken or retained by one parent as a result of failed marriages, if requested by the other parent.

The pact stipulates that if a parent takes a child to another member state, a judgment as to which one of the parents is to take care for the child should be made in principle after returning the child to the country of his or her former habitual residence. Japan joined the convention in 2014.

Based on the treaty, the Tokyo Family Court ordered the mother to return the son to the United States and it was finalized in November 2016. But when enforcement officers visited the home of the mother and the child in Japan, the mother refused to let him go.

The situation prompted the father to file a habeas corpus appeal with the Nagoya High Court’s Kanazawa branch, but it rejected his claim, saying, “Custody transfer is against the son’s will and the Hague Convention does not influence judgment on a habeas corpus petition.”

At the top court, the mother has argued the son wishes to stay in Japan and lawyers representing the son have submitted a similar written statement.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding parental abduction to or from Japan  feel free to contact us 24 / 7.  We are always available at contact@abpworld.com or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)


USA: The Ride For Missing Children


The Ride For Missing Children is the biggest annual fundraiser for the National Center of Missing & Exploited Children-NY/Mohawk Valley. Our mission is “to make our children safer …one child at a time.”

If you have any questions or concerns regarding parental abduction feel free to contact us 24 / 7.  We are always available at contact@abpworld.com or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)


US / Armenia: Armenia joins the Hague Convention on International Parental Abduction


US Department of State:

On March 1, 2018, the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction entered into force between the United States and Armenia. The United States now has 77 partners under the Convention.

The Convention provides a civil law mechanism for parents seeking the return of children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside their country of habitual residence in violation of custodial rights. Parents seeking access to children residing in treaty partner countries may also invoke the Convention. The Convention is important because it establishes an internationally recognized legal framework to resolve international parental child abduction cases. The Convention does not address who should have custody of the child; rather it addresses where issues of child custody should be decided.

The Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues, which serves as the Central Authority for the United States under the Convention, welcomes our partnership with Armenia and looks forward to working together on this critical issue.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding parental abduction to or from Armenia  feel free to contact us 24 / 7.  We are always available at contact@abpworld.com or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)



UK: International children: when does moving abroad with your child become child abduction?



The question of whether a mother’s decision to relocate from Australia to England with her two young children amounted to child abduction has been the subject of a Supreme Court ruling called Re C.

The Court decision is of interest as it highlights the fact that often the decision to move from one country to another with children isn’t straightforward and therefore it isn’t easy to say what amounts to ‘’child abduction’’ and when ‘’habitual residence’’ changes from the country of origin to the country of relocation.

In re C, two parents were living in Australia with their two children, the marriage ran into trouble and the father agreed that the British mother and the children (who had Australian citizenship) could take a trip to the UK for 8 weeks. The father then agreed, by email, that the trip could be extended to up to a year. During the year the mother decided that she wanted to remain in the UK with the two children. This decision resulted in the father applying under the Hague Convention for the children’s return to Australia.

The legal question was whether the children remained ‘’habitually resident’’ in Australia as, on the father’s case, their stay in England was only temporary. If the Court ruled that the children remained ‘’habitually resident’’ in Australia the Hague Convention rules would be applied and the children would go back to Australia .The long term decision as to which parent the children should live with and in what country would then be decided by the Australian family Court. The Australian Court would have the option to rule that the children should stay in Australia with their mother or father or grant an application by the mother to return to the UK with the children.

The mother resisted the father’s High Court application that the children should be returned to Australia arguing that the children were now habitually resident in the UK so the UK Court couldn’t apply the Hague Convention rules and summarily return the children to Australia for the Australian family Court to decide on the children’s future. The High Court agreed with the mother, the father appealed and the Court of Appeal agreed with the father ordering the children’s return to Australia. There was a further appeal to the Supreme Court. The Court held that the father’s application under the Hague Convention failed because the children had become ‘’habitually resident’’ in the UK and therefore the English Court could decide where the children’s future lay. Not all of the Supreme Court judges agreed with the leading judgment and a reading of the Court case and the various judge’s views shows just how finely balanced and complicated the decision was.

The decision on whether the children were habitually resident in Australia or England all came down to when the mother formed her intention to remain in the UK with the children. Was it a case of a mother who was struggling to decide what to do and where to live with her two young children or a case of planned child removal by tactically getting the husband to agree to a one year stay in England?

Why does the case matter? If the children had retained their habitual residence in Australia then under the Hague Convention the UK Court would have had to return the children to Australia using a quick summary procedure and without looking at the merits of either parent’s case namely that the children would be better off being brought up in Australia or the UK. Once back in Australia the mother might have found it harder to argue that the children should return to the UK with her.

However as the Court has ruled that the Hague Convention doesn’t apply the UK Court can now carefully decide what is in the children’s best interests: to live in England with their mother or return to Australia with their father and the sort of contact time they should spend with the parent who isn’t going to be caring for them on a day to day basis.

What does this case mean for a parent travelling with children to the UK? For the parent who has come over to the UK with their children it shows the depth of analysis of the legal concept of ‘’habitual residence’’ and the pouring over of detail and, in the case or Re C, the review of correspondence to try to determine when the children lost their habitual residence in Australia. Despite the Re C ruling many parents should be wary of the risks of arguing that their children have become habitually resident in England and thus the Convention doesn’t apply. That is because if the UK Court rules against them on the legal definition of habitual residence or on the facts of their case they start on ‘’the back foot’’ if they have to return to the country they departed from for that country to rule on their children’s long term future. The dilemma remains – do you apply for permission to take a child to live abroad in the country in which the child lives and risk Court failure or risk travelling abroad and the Court ruling that the child’s habitual residence remains the country of origin thus forcing a Hague Convention return and a more challenging Court application in the country of origin.

What does this case mean for a parent agreeing to their children going abroad with one parent for an extended period? It may mean that if the parent receives legal advice they will be less likely to agree to a child going abroad for an extended holiday as if their child is at risk of losing habitual residence the Hague Convention won’t apply thus making it a lot harder to recover children from abroad.

The dissenting Supreme Court judge’s views show just how difficult it is to define the concept of ‘’habitual residence’’ and how easy it is to fall foul of child abduction laws and conventions. As a child abduction lawyer the case of Re C shows just how finely balanced Court decisions can be and the importance of parents taking legal advice before they take their children abroad or agree to an extended trip abroad so that they make informed decisions.

For advice on any aspect of children or child abduction law call Louise at Evolve Family Law –  +44 (0) 1477 464020 or email me at louise@evolvefamilylaw.co.uk  

If you have any questions or concerns regarding parental abduction to or from The UK  feel free to contact us 24 / 7.  We are always available at contact@abpworld.com or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)



Japan: Courts fail to return disputed children


The Yomiuri ShimbunAll domestic legal procedures to compel divorced parents who are refusing to obey finalized court orders to return their children to the children’s country of habitual residence, in keeping with an international treaty, have so far failed, according to the Foreign Ministry.

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (the Hague Convention) stipulates how to handle the cases of children who have been taken by their father or mother to a foreign state due to divorce or other reasons.

In domestic trials involving the convention, some parents have not obeyed even finalized orders to return such children to the state where they habitually resided. According to the Foreign Ministry, six legal procedures have been conducted to separate children from such parents, but all have failed to bring about the return of the children.

This has led the effectiveness of the Hague Convention to be questioned, and some experts are calling for improvements to the relevant systems.

The Hague Convention is an international rule under which, if a parent takes his or her children to his or her home country without the permission of the other parent, the parent must in principle return the children to the state where the children have their habitual residence.

Parents residing in foreign countries file a suit with family and other courts demanding the return of their children to their countries. The courts then decide whether to accept such demands through trials or other procedures.

If the other parent refuses to return their children in defiance of the court decision, implementation by proxy (see below) of the children’s return will be carried out, following the implementation of fines.

The Hague Convention went into effect in April 2014. According to the Foreign Ministry, from then until January this year, there have been 23 cases in which courts have ordered, through a trial, the return of children to states where they have their habitual residence.

Of these cases, implementation by proxy was conducted in six cases involving 14 children. However, the parents would not agree and refused to hand over their children, holding them tightly in their arms or using other means. As a result, none of the children were returned in these six cases.

Under the Japanese law for implementation of the convention, it is impossible to forcibly separate children from parents through implementation by proxy.

A lawyer for a male U.S. national who had filed such a suit under the Hague Convention pointed out the weak effectiveness of the Japanese implementation law, with the U.S. system — in which parents who do not obey court decisions can be detained — in mind.

Shinichiro Hayakawa, a professor of international private law at the University of Tokyo, said: “The current situation in which parents are allowed to refuse to return their children is problematic. It’s necessary to consider improving the system to enhance the effectiveness of the treaty while paying attention to the mental and physical condition of children.”

Decision could be overturned

On Monday, the first petty bench of the Supreme Court held a hearing for a case filed by a father living in the United States who is demanding the return of his 13-year-old son. The boy’s mother lives in Japan and refused to obey an order to return the son to the United States and accept implementation by proxy.

The case was closed the same day, after hearing from both sides. A ruling will be handed down on March 15, and may be overturned by the Nagoya High Court’s Kanazawa branch that refused the father’s demand.

At the hearing, the father’s side claimed that the mother’s act ignored the purpose of the convention. The mother’s side claimed that their son wants to live in Japan and so he should not be returned to the United States even though a return order was issued under the treaty.

The parents in this case are both Japanese nationals. They divorced in the United States, and the mother took their son to Japan in 2016. The father filed a suit demanding the return of the son under the implementation law.

The Tokyo High Court’s order to return him was finalized. However, when court enforcement officers arrived at the home of the mother and son, the mother wrapped herself and her son in a futon and refused to cooperate. Therefore, the boy could not be returned.

Implementation by proxy

If a person does not obey court orders or other directives, court enforcement officers and other people visit the person to implement the relevant orders in a compulsory manner. Under the Japanese implementation law for the Hague Convention, such officers and parents demanding their children’s return visit the relevant children and ask the other parent living with the children to return them. Court enforcement officers are allowed to unlock and search homes, and to attempt to persuade the other parent. However, they are not allowed to forcibly separate parents and children who refuse to accept the implementation.Speech

If you have any questions or concerns regarding parental abduction to or from Japan  feel free to contact us 24 / 7.  We are always available at contact@abpworld.com or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)


Netherlands / India: Amberalert.eu, News

Abduction Insiya (Netherlands) – Dutch Public Prosecutor does not accept withdrawal of arrest warrant against Insiya’s father.

Update February 27th 2018: The Public Prosecutor in the Netherlands does not accept Interpol’s decision to withdraw the international arrest warrant against Insiya’s father, Shehzad H., writes Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. “We do not agree with the removal and will strive to reactivate the arrest warrant”, the Public Prosecutor’s Office states in a press release. The statement was issued after the father’s attorney claimed that Interpol, the international police organisation, considers Insiya’s abduction a “private family matter”. For that reason, Interpol has withdrawn the arrest warrant against Shehzad H. 

Previous Updates

Update February 16th 2018:  A judge in the Netherlands ruled that the three-year-old Insiya, who was taken from Amsterdam to India by her father, does not have to immediately return home. The Supreme Court in The Hague annulled the ruling of another judge, who stated that Insiya must be brought back to her mother in the Netherlands before March 27th. According to the Supreme Court, it is up to the Indian judiciary to make that decision, writes Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.

Update January 30th 2018: Three-year-old Insiya must return to the Netherlands. Her return was ordered by an Indian court yesterday. Insiya’s father, who is said to be behind the violent abduction of his daughter from Amsterdam to India on September 29th 2016, will have to bring his daughter back to her Dutch mother before March 27th, writes Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.

Update January 12th 2018: In 2016, the now three-year-old Insiya was forcibly kidnapped to India. Although there have been negotiations between the Dutch and Indian government to bring the girl back to the Netherlands, the case is deadlocked. However, the pressure on India has increased, after the court in The Hague formally established that the toddler was kidnapped. “In December, the judge also ruled that Insiya was held in India illegally,” says Insiya’s mother, Nadia Rashid. Insiya’s father, Shehzad H., who is presumed to be behind the abduction, was also ordered by the court to bring the girl back. In a direct appeal to the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, Rashid is asking the government in India (Mumbai) for help in returning her kidnapped daughter to her. AMBER Alert Netherlands in turn has received direct threats from Shehzad H. to remove any communication regarding the case from its website.

Read the full story from the moment of abduction until now:

Update September 29th 2017: On this day last year, Dutch toddler Insiya Hemani was kidnapped and taken to India. Despite numerous efforts of the Dutch government to reunite the girl with her mother, the case is completely log-jammed, according to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. Most of the suspects are in custody, but her father, presumed to be the mastermind behind the abduction, is said to still be hiding the child in a house in India. Insiya’s mother, Nadia Rashid, has released an emotional appeal to the public. She hopes the video will remind the public once again of the abuction, bringing her one step closer to being reunited with her daughter.

Update July 13th 2017: The Public Prosecutor wants to charge Insiya’s father, who is believed to be behind his daughter’s abduction, if he fails to show up in court, according to Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant. The chances that Shehzad H. will actually make an appearance are slim to none as India refuses to extradite the man.

Update May 8th 2017: Dutch Minister Koenders is going to India to personally discuss the abduction case of the 3-year old Insiya with the Indian authorities. The girl was abducted last September. Insiya’s father, Shehzad H., is presumed to be have orchestrated the abduction.

Update March 29th 2017: The Dutch Public Prosecutor filed a legal request with India asking the country to extradite Shehzad H. to the Netherlands, the prosecutor revealed in court on Wednesday. The Prosecutor believes Shehzad H. is responsible for the kidnapping of his 2-year-old daughter Insiya in Amsterdam last year.

The Prosecutor also wants to question two suspects in Iraq and the United States, AD reports. India is considering the request for extradition, the Prosecutor is still waiting for a response.

Update February 28th 2017: Insiya’s mother, Nadia Rashid, has started a petition to get her daughter back to the Netherlands as soon as possible. “It is awful. It has been hell”, says Rashid. “It hits you every day that she is not here. You look at her pictures, watch video clips of her. You miss her little hands, that she runs up to you in the morning. And yet, you still hope that at some point you catch a glimpse of your child. But that is not the case.”

With the petition, Rashid hopes to push the Dutch and Indian government to come to a resolution and bring Insiya back home. The petition has already gathered over 11.000 signatures.

Update February 27th 2017: The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is hoping for a quick solution in the abduction case of Insiya from Amsterdam. The ministry is mediating between both parents to get the girl back to the Netherlands. A spokesperson of the Ministry: “We are in contact with the mother almost daily and there is regular contact with the father. We are making small steps towards a resolution”.

Update February 27th 2017: The Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reports that, once again, one of the abductors of the 2.5-year old Insiya has been arrested at the airport in Teheran, Iran. The arrest is an important development in the investigation of the Dutch police. Last week Daniel C., suspected of having prepared the abduction, was already arrested in the United States.

Update January 12th, 2017: The Dutch news broadcaster AT5 reports that the abduction of the 2-year old Insiya Hemani has been well prepared for eight months. On the computer of one of the suspects a plan was found. The plan reveals that the use of violence wasn’t an issue for the abuctors.

“I will continue. I won’t stop until Insiya is back in the Netherlands,” says Insiya’s mother (Dutch video, AT5)

Update December 27th, 2016Three months ago, Insiya (2) was kidnapped. Since then, her mother Nadia Rashid, has faced some tough times. Not having Insiya around is especially hard around Christmas time, reports Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. “Last year everything was different”, Rashid reminisces. “Insiya really liked Christmas, she couldn’t stop staring at the tree. Now, I know nothing about her. I only hear stories of neighbours in Mumbai, who live in the apartment building where my daughter is being held. They say they occasionally hear Insiya crying heartrendingly. That’s all I know.” (De Telegraaf)

RTL Boulevard also reported on the case. Watch the video (Dutch).

Update Nov 12th: The father of the kidnapped toddler Insiya, Shehzad H., reportedly refuses to reunite his 2-year-old daughter with her mother, reports De TelegraafShehzad H. informed the mother’s lawyer through his attorney Gerard Spong. India has not contacted the Amsterdam police to cooperate in the arrest of the father or bringing back Insiya to the Netherlands (De Telegraaf)

Watch the video (Dutch)

Update Oct 28th: The abducted Insiya is said to be held in an apartment in Mumbai, India, by her father. A crime reporter of the Dutch news paper Telegraaf, spoke to witnesses who confirm that they have seen and heard the two-year old girl in the apartment of her grandmother.

Update Oct 21st: German media like Focus, Stern, DPA, Hamburger Morgenpost, News Deutschland, cover the abduction of Insiya. In addition to the attention of German media, information about Insiya is also displayed in Germany on big screens in bus- and train stations.

Oct 19th – 15:28: Information about Insiya is now displayed in Germany via big screens on bus- and train stations. The information was disseminated in cooperation with NGO Initiative Vermisste Kinder, the German member of AMBER Alert Europe.

Oct 19th – 11.56: The Dutch police has arrested two more persons that are believed to be involved in the abduction of the two-year old Insiya Hemani. One of the suspects has been arrested in Germany. The police have also searched a house in Germany. Both suspects have the Dutch nationality.

Oct 18th – 18:38: “We suspect that the child might be in Germany. Because of the investigation process we can not provide more information at this stage. Germany is extremely large, but we think it is very important to find her. We hope everyone will be on the lookout, also in Germany”, says a spokeswoman of the Dutch police (Hart van Nederland).

Oct 18th 15:39: According to the Dutch Police there are indications that the abducted 2.5-year old Insiya Hemani might be in Germany. On September 29th, a Dutch AMBER Alert was issued for Insiya. The girl is still missing.

The police responsible for the investigation of the abducted toddler expects the child won’t be in Germany for a long period of time. It is unknown if she is accompanied by her father or by someone else. Therefore the Dutch police urges the public to stay on the lookout for the girl. If you have any information about this case, please contact: 0800 6070 (the Netherlands) or +31 79 345 9876 (from outside the Netherlands).

Oct 11th: The mother of the abducted 2.5-year old Insiya Hemani has posted an emotional Facebook message saying she is extremely thankful to all who joined the search for her daughter. “Every second without Insiya is unbearable”.

I am extremely thankful to all who are helping to find her and also to those who have been sharing these messages”, says Insiya’s mother. The Dutch police issued an AMBER Alert for the toddler on Thursday, September 29th. The AMBER Alert reached 11 million Dutch citizens. The alert was also disseminated by AMBER Alert Europe. The AMBER Alert has been cancelled, Insiya is still missing. Knowing that there are so many people on the lookout for Inisya, gives Inisya’s mother hope: “All your support and messages give me hope and assure me that I am not alone in this search. Therefore I request you to keep sharing this post, also in Europe, India and the rest of the world… Help me find my daughter.”

Oct 4th: The AMBER Alert reached 11 million Dutch citizens. The AMBER Alert was disseminated via social media, gas stations, public transport and and popular mobile apps. The AMBER Alert was also disseminated via AMBER Alert Europe’s Police Expert Network.

Oct 4th: A second suspect has been arrested. The police suspects the man is involved in the abduction of the 2.5-year old Insiya. The Police is still searching for the third abductor and the father of the child.

Sep 29th: One of the abducters has been arrested after a local resident captured him.

Sep 29th: The Dutch AMBER which was issued today for the 2.5-year old Insiya Hemani from Amsterdam has been cancelled. The girl is still missing.

The Dutch police suspects the girl, who was abducted, has been taken abroad and is now in the company of her father, Shehzad H.. The AMBER Alert has reached 10.850.031 Dutch citizens. Thank you all for being on the lookout!

For more information, please see: https://www.politie.nl/gezocht-en-vermist/vermiste-kinderen/2016/september/insiya-hemani.html. If you have any information about this case, please contact: 0800 6070 (the Netherlands) or +31 79 345 9876 (from outside the Netherlands).




Interpol withdrew an international arrest warrant against Shehzad Hemani, who had his daughter  kidnapped from Amsterdam in September 2016. The Public Prosecutor does not accept this and will keep trying to have Hemani arrested, NOS reports.

Insiya was kidnapped from her grandmother’s home in September 2016 and taken to Mumbai in India. The now almost 4-year-old girl is still in India with her father. Several civil proceedings are underway to get her back, though a Dutch court recently ruled that the matter

The arrest warrant was withdrawn because Interpol considers this a “private matter” of parental authority. But Interpol was not aware that Insiya was violently abducted, a spokesperson for the Public Prosecutor said to NOS. Further steps will be taken to get Hemani arrested, she said, but wouldn’t say what steps.

Hemani and four other suspects are charged with unlawful deprivation of liberty, abduction, and removing a child from parental authority. The Prosecutor hopes to have Hemani arrested so that he can stand trial in the fall.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding parental abduction to or from India or The Netherlands,  feel free to contact us 24 / 7.  We are always available at contact@abpworld.com or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)