Lower Tier Members of the Hague Club?


Elisabeth Andrews, Pupil Barrister at 4 Paper Buildings, considers the difficulties faced by countries aiming to become new members of the Hague Convention 1980 and what influence Pakistan’s accession may have in terms of encouraging other South Asian and Muslim countries to follow suit.

Elisabeth Andrews, Pupil at 4 Paper Buildings

On 22 December 2016 Pakistan became the 96th signatory to the Hague Convention of the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980 (‘the Convention’) and simultaneously became the first South Asian country to be so. The Convention came into force in Pakistan on 1 March 2017. One year on, one might wish to look back and consider the difficulties faced by countries aiming to become new members of the ‘Hague club’ and what influence, if any, Pakistan’s accession may have in terms of encouraging other, particularly other South Asian and Muslim countries, to follow suit.

Pakistan’s accession will have come as welcome news to the Pakistani diaspora, which includes the 1.17 million British Pakistanis in the United Kingdom. This is particularly so given that unilateral parental removals between the United Kingdom and Pakistan, along with stranded spouses, frequently rank as one of the most common abduction scenarios. The most recent research on this was in 2011, when there were 55 such cases1(which was about one tenth of incoming cases in the High Court).

Prior to Pakistan’s accession, reliance was placed upon the ‘UK-Pakistan Protocol on Child Matters’ of 2003, which, of course, does not have the force of law but provides guidance on how to handle such cases in line with the principles of the Convention. Many states attempt to benefit from this protocol system. However, the success of such protocols depends on a relationship of confidence and trust between the two states concerned and, as Gosselain notes, the heavy reliance on cooperation and goodwill means “bilateral conventions in this field operate with difficulty“2. One example of this in particular is the Swedish-Tunisian protocol, under which none of the nine cases falling within its remit could reach successful outcomes in terms of contact through negotiations.3 The UK-Pakistan protocol’s effectiveness was greatly hindered by the fact the protocol was not incorporated into Pakistani law in any meaningful way. A particular challenge for incorporation was that Pakistan operates under Shari’ah law, meaning the creation of supporting legislation would be hugely difficult due to conflicts between the principles underpinning the Convention and those that underpin Shari’ah law.

It also cannot be ignored that there were far more returns from Pakistan to England under the protocol than the other way around.

This highlights a major hurdle for the Convention to overcome should further South Asian and Muslim majority states become signatories. Indeed, Pakistan’s accession marked, at the time, only the fourth Muslim country to become a signatory. Tunisia has recently become the fifth, with the Convention entering into force on 1 October 2017. Saudi Arabia, UAE and countries of this ilk are yet to become involved in Hague Convention discussions.

Cultural and religious differences present a great challenge, particularly when, as a consequence, one state’s legal system operates in such a vastly different way from the other relevant state.

An example of this is found in states operating under Shari’ah law, where there is little separation of religion, legal and moral guidance. As such, for example, the best interests of the child tend to be determined by reference to religious and social values, with the child to be raised in accordance with Islamic faith.

Principles of child custody vary greatly also. For example, Shari’ah law includes the notion of Hidana, a form of Guardianship, under which children remain under the care of the Hidana until a particular age (frequently between 9 to 15 years old depending on the state).4 Given that a fundamental aspect of the Convention is that there has been a breach of rights of custody, conflicts in this notion could prove hugely problematic. From the Shari’ah state’s point of view, implementation of the Convention could lead to outcomes in direct contradiction with Islamic law.

One state that has been debating signing the Convention for over 10 years is The Republic of India. An idea of public and professional attitudes towards the Convention can be gathered from local media as well as government websites. Some legal professionals speak of concerns of the Convention’s overly authoritarian nature and the fact it could lead to compelling mothers fleeing bad marriages to return.5 Commentary also notes the cultural view that parents, due to being the natural guardians of their children, cannot be abductors of their own child.6

Aside from the cultural obstacles, there are also administrative ones. Countries, such as India, who are yet to sign up to the Convention, will have to ensure that as part of the ratification process they have laws compliant with the Convention. There is therefore the issue of administrative capabilities and time required, as well as difficulties in agreement as to the content of new legislation. This may suggest an automatic obstacle for states with less resourced legal and judicial systems.

Recognition, Ratification and Accession
For the avoidance of any doubt, the Hague Conference defines ratification and accession as:

Ratification: “Ratification involves the legal obligation for the ratifying State to apply the Convention… ratification is, in general terms, reserved for Member States exclusively.”7

Accession: “Other States wishing to become a Party to the Hague Convention may accede. This, however, is only possible once the Convention has entered into force. The States that are already parties to the Convention must in some cases accept this accession”. The Hague Convention 1980 “require[s] express acceptance by the States Parties to the Convention”.8

It therefore must be remembered that even when a country has acceded to the Convention it does not necessarily follow that existing signatories will (and often choose not to) recognise the Convention as being actually in force in the new contracting state.

This can be for many reasons, including an acceding state’s record on human rights abuses or past diplomatic incidents between the countries concerned. As an example, the United States State Department made the decision not to partner with Nicaragua, for whom the Convention entered into force in 2001. The State Department reported that this decision not to enter into a Convention relationship was for reasons such as the Nicaraguan Government limiting freedom of expression, there being widespread corruption, US citizens being detained or monitored, the judicial system not functioning independently. It also cited incidents of police and prison authorities ignoring or significantly delaying implementing judicial orders.9

New signatories also face the hurdle of having to comply with administrative requirements, such as establishing a Central Authority and ensuring rules and procedures which comply with Convention principles. As noted above, such requirements disadvantage certain states with underfunded legal systems or states whose legal systems are predicated on different legal and cultural values.

The Hague Conference has produced an ever-evolving table detailing the countries between which the Convention is in force on the ground.10

As the reader can see, the table is, unfortunately, rather impenetrable. It cannot easily be enlarged and zooming in exposes almost illegible script. It is respectfully suggested that this is a tool which requires complete revision, so that practitioners have easy access to a highly useful chart that cross-references countries and shows whether they have accepted the Convention as being in force in another State.

By way of example, even though Bulgaria acceded to the Convention in 2003, the accession was not accepted by the United Kingdom until 2009. Therefore, incoming abductions, until 2009, were to be dealt with by way of inherent jurisdiction applications following the principles of Re J (A Child) (Custody Rights: Jurisdiction) [2005] UKHL 40. This is the kind of information a practitioner needs to have at his or her fingertips.

For ease of reference, the acceding states who, as of 12 March 2018, the United Kingdom does not recognise as having the Convention in force are (in chronological order):

  • The Republic of Moldova
  • Paraguay
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Nicaragua
  • Sri Lanka
  • Guatemala
  • Thailand
  • Dominican Republic
  • Gabon
  • Guinea
  • Lesotho
  • Iraq
  • Zambia
  • Philippines
  • Bolivia
  • Pakistan
  • Jamaica
  • Tunisia

The acceding states, which the United Kingdom does recognise as having ratified, are as follows (again, in chronological order):

  • Hungary
  • Belize
  • New Zealand
  • Mexico
  • Ecuador
  • Burkina Faso
  • Poland
  • Monaco
  • Romania
  • Mauritius
  • Bahamas
  • Honduras
  • Chile
  • Panama
  • Slovenia
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Cyprus
  • Zimbabwe
  • Colombia
  • Iceland
  • South Africa
  • Georgia
  • Turkmenistan
  • Belarus
  • Costa Rica
  • Fiji
  • Uzbekistan
  • Brazil
  • Malta
  • Uruguay
  • El Salvador
  • Estonia
  • Peru
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Bulgaria
  • Ukraine
  • San Marino
  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Seychelles
  • Morocco
  • Singapore
  • Andorra
  • Russian Federation
  • Republic of Korea
  • Kazakhstan

Whilst the precise reasons for the decision of the United Kingdom not to recognise the Convention as being in force in the above states are not clearly known, this highlights that there are additional barriers to effective Convention practice between signatory states. These barriers are founded upon deep-rooted and complex issues not just within the legal realm, but reaching into cultural, moral and political spheres.

An additional issue faced by the United Kingdom is one of sovereignty. Pursuant to the Treaty of Lisbon, the United Kingdom does not have the unilateral power to accept new Convention states. However, this position will no doubt change after Brexit.

Object and Purpose of the Convention
In light of the above, barriers to wider ratification of the Convention may take considerable time to overcome. Further, the process from the signing to ratification by member states can also be lengthy. It is respectfully suggested that the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties 1969 may provide some form of solution, especially in an outgoing case.

In cases where a country has signed but not ratified the Hague Convention, the Vienna Convention provides that said signatory country must still act in line with the object and purpose of the Convention.

In R v O [2008] EWCA Crim 2835, which concerns the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, it was stated that:

“The United Kingdom is a signatory to this Convention but has not ratified it….the United Kingdom is accordingly obliged by Article 18 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties to refrain from acts which would defeat the object and purpose of the Trafficking Convention”.11

The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties 1969 states at Article 18:

Obligation not to defeat the object and purpose of a treaty prior to its entry into force.

A State is obliged to refrain from acts which would defeat the object and purpose of a treaty when:

(a) it has signed the treaty or has exchanged instruments constituting the treaty subject to ratification, acceptance or approval, until it shall have made its intention clear not to become a party to the treaty; or

(b) it has expressed its consent to be bound by the treaty, pending the entry into force of the treaty

and provided that such entry into force is not unduly delayed.”

Therefore, the object and purpose of the Convention – including the prompt, summary return of a child removed from a parent with rights of custody, with the view of this protecting their best interests – is still to be the outcome parties work towards in cases where a party or parties have not yet ratified the Convention or formed a Convention relationship with the other state concerned.

It is, of course, also the case that the 1996 Hague Convention can be used as a tool for securing the return of a child when the 1980 Convention does not apply – see Re J [2015] EWCA Civ 329.

Countries to whom the above solution may apply, namely states which have acceded to the Convention but who are not recognised by the UK as having done so, but which are parties to the Vienna Convention, include:

  • The Republic of Moldova
  • Paraguay
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Guatemala
  • Dominican Republic
  • Gabon
  • Guinea
  • Lesotho
  • Zambia
  • Philippines
  • Bolivia
  • Pakistan
  • Jamaica
  • Tunisia

Conclusion
Cultural and religious differences alongside potential non-recognition by signatory states and a lack of UK sovereignty still remain barriers to accession and subsequent recognition, particularly amongst South Asian or Muslim majority countries. However, Pakistan’s and now Tunisia’s accessions, do suggest a changing tide. It could be questioned how much of this is a result of international pressures to ‘join the club’. It may seem contradictory for pressures and calls for accession to come from existing member states, only then for the same member states to refuse to recognise the 1980 Hague Convention as actually being in force in the new state and refuse to ratify it. Thus the new member state is placed on a ‘lower tier’ than states between which the Convention is operational. In any event, one could be forgiven for feeling optimistic that the progression demonstrated by Pakistan encourages a line of further accessions in the not too distant future. Until that time, certain countries, like Pakistan, are in the Hague club for the purpose of countries which have recognised their accession but not for the UK, which is lamentable. One only hopes that this progression is properly recognised by all existing member states sooner rather than later.12

Footnotes:

[1]   Garimella, R & Jolly, S., ‘Private International Law: South Asian State’s Practice’ , P223
[2]   Freeman, M. ‘When the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention Does Not Apply: The UK-Pakistan Protocol’ quoting Gosselain ‘Child Abduction and Transfrontier Access: Bilateral Conventions and Islamic States’ (Preliminary Document No 7 of August 2002)
[3]   Ibid [2]
[4]   ‘Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc.’ ‘The Custody of Children in Shari-ah’
[5]
  ‘Jaising, I, ‘It would be disastrous for India to sign the Hague Convention on Child Abduction’, (Jan. 30, 2017); Library of Congress, ‘India: Decision not to sign Hague Treaty on Child Abduction’
[6]   
Aiyer, S. & Misra, S., The Invisible Lawyer, ‘Why Should India not sign the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction’, (Sept. 29, 2017)
[7]   Hague Conference on Private International Law, FAQs 
[8]   
Ibid
[9]   Morley, J.D., ‘Notes on International Child Abduction to Nicaragua’, (January 24, 2017)
[10]  Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction – Status Table 
[11]  R v O [2008] EWCA Crim 2835, paragraph 13 (per Laws LJ)
[12]  All information provided is accurate as at the date of writing. Should an update be required, please contact the writer in chambers.

Kindly edited by Teertha Gupta QC of 4 Paper Buildings

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If you have any questions or concerns regarding parental abduction to or from India or Pakistan  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)

Australia / Lebanon: ‘I’ve been through hell’: Sydney mum’s gruelling undercover mission to rescue her sons, five and eight, after her estranged Lebanese husband snatched them and fled to the Middle East


 

  • Iryna Tarakan snatched her two young sons back from her estranged husband
  • Tony Sukkar fled Australia to Lebanon with siblings more than three years ago
  • Ms Tarakan has travelled across the globe in desperate bid to get her sons back
  • Snatched son from Dubai, before securing safe return of his brother from Beirut 

 

 

A Sydney mother has ‘pulled off the impossible’ and snatched her two young sons back from her estranged husband after he fled with the siblings to Lebanon more than three years ago.

‘I’ve been through hell – I’m so glad it’s over,’ Iryna Tarakan told The Australian on Monday, after grabbing her eldest son in Dubai and securing the safe return of his younger brother from Beirut last month.

Ms Tarakan travelled across the globe in a desperate bid to get her sons back, in a case strikingly similar to Sally Faulkner’s infamous attempt to have her children returned from the Middle East with the help of 60 Minutes.

In December 2014, Ms Tarakan’s former husband Tony Sukkar boarded a plane to Lebanon with brothers Ghattas and Michael, then five and two.

Mr Sukkar left the couple’s daughter Najla, then seven, in Australia – and refused to return home.

‘At first I was just shocked and didn’t know what to do and then you wake up in the morning and you’re kids are not there,’ the distraught mother-of-three told Seven News at the time.

Ms Tarakan (pictured in Lebanon) searched the streets of Beirut for her five-year-old son, Michael

Ms Tarakan (pictured in Lebanon) searched the streets of Beirut for her five-year-old son, Michael

'Three years and four months without my little man. We are back home,' Ms Tarakan captioned this photo of Michael upon their return to Australia 

‘Three years and four months without my little man. We are back home,’ Ms Tarakan captioned this photo of Michael upon their return to Australia

In October the following year, Ms Tarakan convinced Mr Sukkar to meet her and their daughter in Dubai, where she planned to grab Ghattas and Michael and return to Australia.

She was shattered to learn the father – who has family in Beirut – had left Michael in Lebanon.

But when Mr Sukkar walked out of their hotel room to collect takeaway food, Ms Tarakan pounced, snatching Ghattas and Najla before boarding the first available flight to Singapore.

‘My kids were sitting on the couch in their pyjamas. I said ­”listen kids, come on, get up, we have to go”,’ she told the paper.

Pictured: Ms Tarakan's children, Michael, five, Ghattas, eight, and their 10 year-old sister Najla

Pictured: Ms Tarakan’s children, Michael, five, Ghattas, eight, and their 10 year-old sister Najla

'I've been through hell - I'm so glad it's over,' Ms Tarakan said on Monday, after grabbing her eldest son in Dubai and securing the safe return of his younger brother from Beirut last month

‘I’ve been through hell – I’m so glad it’s over,’ Ms Tarakan said on Monday, after grabbing her eldest son in Dubai and securing the safe return of his younger brother from Beirut last month

Ms Tarakan is pictured with her son Ghattas, who she snatched from Dubai in 2015, and her daughter Najla 

Ms Tarakan is pictured with her son Ghattas, who she snatched from Dubai in 2015, and her daughter Najla

Ms Tarakan was questioned by airport officials before she was waved through customs. She then locked herself and her children in a toilet cubicle until the plane was ready to depart.

When Mr Sukkar later returned to Australia without Michael, Ms Tarakan travelled to Beirut, obtained a court order for the child’s return and searched the streets of the Christian neighbourhood where Mr Sukkar had lived.

As she searched, local police ­detained one of Mr Sukkar’s relatives for keeping Michael in hiding. The family later agreed to return him to his mother.

After more than three years apart, Ms Tarakan said she fell on her knees and cried as she hugged her now five-year-old son, who was in a state of shock and didn’t hug her back.

In October the following year, Ms Tarakan (pictured) convinced Mr Sukkar to meet her and their daughter in Dubai, where she planned to grab her sons and return to Australia

In October the following year, Ms Tarakan (pictured) convinced Mr Sukkar to meet her and their daughter in Dubai, where she planned to grab her sons and return to Australia

Ms Tarakan travelled to Beirut and searched for Michael in the streets of the Christian neighbourhood where he had lived with his father 

Ms Tarakan travelled to Beirut and searched for Michael in the streets of the Christian neighbourhood where he had lived with his father

Ms Tarakan thanked her supporters as she returned to Australia with her son, who she hadn't seen for more than three years

Ms Tarakan thanked her supporters as she returned to Australia with her son, who she hadn’t seen for more than three years

‘Three years and four months without my little man. We are back home,’ Ms Tarakan wrote on Facebook as she returned to Australia with Michael on March 15. ‘Thank you everyone who supported me through this nightmare.’

The child recovery expert who advised Ms Tarakan on how to have her children safely returned to Australia said it was ‘almost impossible’ to retrieve children from Lebanon.

‘It’s very rare, in my experience… She has pulled off almost the impossible,’ Col Chapman, the same expert used by Ms Faulkner, told The Australian.

Mr Sukkar told the paper there was ‘another side’ to the story and claimed Ms Tarakan was ‘not genuine’, though he refused to comment further.

'At first I was just shocked and didn't know what to do and then you wake up in the morning and you're kids are not there,' a tearful Ms Tarakan said when her children were first taken

‘At first I was just shocked and didn’t know what to do and then you wake up in the morning and you’re kids are not there,’ a tearful Ms Tarakan said when her children were first taken

Brisbane mother Sally Faulkner continues to fight for the return of her children, Lahela and Noah

Brisbane mother Sally Faulkner continues to fight for the return of her children, Lahela and Noah

Meanwhile, Brisbane mother Sally Faulkner continues to fight for the return of her children, Lahela and Noah, after they were snatched by her estranged husband Ali Elamine and taken to Beirut in 2016.

Ms Faulkner and Channel Nine hired agents who attempted to take her children back from their father. The attempt, which was to be broadcast on 60 Minutes, landed Ms Faulkner, along with Tara Brown and the 60 Minutes crew, behind bars.

Mr Elamine, who was paid US$500,000 to drop the charges, said he and his two children were just getting on with their lives.

‘We don’t really care, we’re not interested, and at the end of the day I will do what I like regardless of what she says,’ he told News Corp late last year.

Ms Faulkner's children were snatched by her estranged husband Ali Elamine and taken to Beirut in 2016

Ms Faulkner’s children were snatched by her estranged husband Ali Elamine and taken to Beirut in 2016

The attempt, which was to be broadcast on 60 Minutes, landed Ms Faulkner, along with Tara Brown and the 60 Minutes crew, behind bars

The attempt, which was to be broadcast on 60 Minutes, landed Ms Faulkner, along with Tara Brown and the 60 Minutes crew, behind bars

 

If you have any questions or concerns regarding parental abduction to or from Australia or Lebanon  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)
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WhittingtonCari.com launched to allow people to understand the truth behind notorious Child Abduction gang leader Adam Whittington


wittingtoncari

It seems that Mr. Adam Whittington CEO of CARI and Project Rescue Children (PRC) is being called out.  He has been on a hate mission against anyone that he fears may be taking away his business for many years now.  Adam Whittington has posted slanderous  statements against those he considers “foes” for many years and the evidence is posted on a new website that has links to proof of all of the claims made by it.

Mr. Whittington has notoriously posted defamatory statements against the individuals behind this site as well as his previous clients, attorney’s, and even people he considers “friends.”

This site is being shared not in an attempt to in anyway discredit Adam Whittington or his company Child Abduction Recovery International.  With the evidence the site shares, Mr. Whittington has done that for himself.  If you investigate you’ll see that he has been accused of rape, faking recoveries, threatening people, making slanderous comments, & libeling anyone that attempts to bring his antics to the public and he does it in a way that is no only unprofessional, but done using some of the foulest language you can imagine.

It is shocking to see a man claiming to be a savior of children acting in such a fashion.  There are many well known accounts of his cowboy behavior during another failed recovery attempt in Lebanon but all of the information has now been linked in one place.

Adam Whittington is reported to have been arrested 3 times during recovery attempts where he broke international law.  These accounts are all available on the site and his incredibly violent methods are not something that should be acceptable to anyone stating they are fighting for the rights of a child or their parents.

For further information on Adam Whittington from the company Child Abduction Recovery International (CARI) please visit – http://www.whittingtoncari.com.

After this site was launched Mr. Whittington attempted to continue this behavior and threaten the web host with law suits based on slander.  The host declined his claims after viewing the site and having their legal team examine if any of his claims were true, but found that the letter he sent was not only untrue but seemed to be an erroneous cut and paste job of another letter he sent previously refuting the same claims made by another individual he must have attacked.

The website authors have also requested that  “If you have any grievances arising out of dealing with Adam Whittington or CARI please feel free to contact us through the comments sections of this blog.  All comments will be treated in strict confidence and will not be published without your written consent..”  If you have any information to help the paint this true and correct accounting of Adam Whittington please reach out and share your experiences,

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DEBITO.ORG – Japan Supreme Court enforces Hague Convention on Int’l Child Abductions (for Japanese claimants).


embedded_racism_color_thumbYet Sakura TV claims Hague is for “selfish White men” trying to entrap women from “uncivilized countries” as “babysitters” – by Arudo Debito

Hi Blog. We had an important Supreme Court ruling come down earlier this month, where an international custody dispute between two Japanese divorcees living in different countries resulted in the custodial parent overseas being awarded custody of the child, as per the Hague Convention on International Child Abductions. (See Japan Times article excerpt below.)

Debito.org has commented at length on this issue (and I have even written a novel based upon true stories of Japan’s safe haven for international child abductions). Part of the issue is that due to the insanity of Japan’s Family Registry(koseki) System, after a divorce only ONE parent (as in, one family) gets total custody of the child, with no joint custody or legally-guaranteed visitation rightsThis happens to EVERYONE who marries, has children, and divorces in Japan (regardless of nationality).

But what makes this Supreme Court decision somewhat inapplicable to anyone but Wajin Japanese is the fact that other custody issues under the Hague (which Japan only signed kicking and screaming, and with enough caveats to lead to probable nonenforcement), which involved NON-Japanese parents, faced a great deal of racism and propaganda, even from the Japanese government.

As evidence, consider this TV segment (with English subtitles) on Japan’s ultraconservative (PM Abe Shinzo is a frequent contributorSakura Channel TVnetwork (firmly established with the “present Japan positively no matter what” NHK World network).  It contains enough bald-facedly anti-foreign hypotheticals (including the requisite stereotype that foreign men are violent, and Japanese women are trying to escape DV) to inspire entire sociological articles, and the incredible claim that Japan’s court system is just appeasing White people and forcing a “selfish” alien system upon Japan.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmbuabX9_S0&feature=share

The best bits were when banner commentator Takayama Masayuki claimed a) White men just marry women from “uncivilized” countries until they find better women (such as ex-girlfriends from high school) and then divorce them, capturing the former as “babysitters” for once-a-week meet-ups with their kids (which Takayama overtly claims is the “premise” of the Hague Convention in the first place); and b) (which was not translated properly in the subtitles) where Takayama at the very end cites Mori Ohgai (poet, soldier, medical doctor and translator who wrote sexualized fiction about a liaison between a Japanese man and a German woman) to say, “play around with White WOMEN and then escape back home.” (Who’s being selfish, not to mention hypocritical, now?)

Take yet another plunge into this racialized sexpit of debate, where the racism doesn’t even bother to embed itself.  Dr. Debito Arudou

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Supreme Court breaks new ground, ruling in favor of U.S.-based Japanese father in international custody battle
BY TOMOHIRO OSAKI, THE JAPAN TIMES, MAR 15, 2018, Courtesy of lots of people.
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/03/15/national/crime-legal/supreme-court-breaks-new-ground-ruling-favor-u-s-based-japanese-father-international-custody-battle/

The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday in favor of a U.S.-based Japanese father seeking to reunite with his teenage son, who was taken by his estranged wife to Japan in 2016, concluding that the wife’s dogged refusal to abide by an earlier court order mandating the minor’s repatriation amounts to her “illegally confining” him.

The ruling is believed to be the first by the Supreme Court on cases where return orders by courts have been refused. It is likely to send a strong message regarding domestic legislation that is often slammed as impotent on cross-border child abductions, despite Japan’s commitments under the Hague Convention, following mounting criticism that return orders issued by courts have been ignored.

The Supreme Court sent the case back to the Nagoya High Court.

This latest case involved a formerly U.S.-based Japanese couple whose marital relationship began to deteriorate in 2008. According to the ruling, the wife unilaterally took away one of her children, then aged 11, in January 2016 and brought him to Japan where the two have since lived together.

Upon a complaint by the husband, a Tokyo court issued in September the same year a “return order” for the child under the Hague Convention, but the wife didn’t comply. When a court-appointed officer intervened to recover the child the following year the wife “refused to unlock the door,” prompting the officer to enter her residence via a second-story window, the ruling said. The mother then put up a fierce fight to retain the child, who also articulated his wish to stay in Japan.

On Thursday the top court overturned a Nagoya High Court ruling that acknowledged the child’s desire to stay in Japan. The latest ruling judged the minor was “in a difficult position to make a multifaceted, objective judgment about whether to remain under control of his mother,” citing his “heavy reliance” on her and the “undue psychological influence” she was likely exerting upon him in his life in Japan. The apparent lack of his free will, the ruling said, meant the mother’s attempt to keep the child equated to detention…

Rest of the article at https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/03/15/national/crime-legal/supreme-court-breaks-new-ground-ruling-favor-u-s-based-japanese-father-international-custody-battle/

Dr. Debito Arudou’s Home Page: Issues of Life and Human Rights in Japan

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If you have any questions or concerns regarding parental abduction to or from Japan or The USA  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: Watch as police rescue 5-year-old boy after abduction by ‘violent, dangerous father’


LAKE FOREST PARK, Wash. – A 5-year-old boy who was abducted by his “violent, dangerous” father and triggered an Amber Alert was rescued in dramatic fashion Wednesday by Seattle police.

“The Amber Alert system worked flawlessly today,” said Lake Forest Park Police Chief Steve Sutton. The boy was taken from Lake Forest Park.

He said Seattle police rescued the boy 45 minutes after the Amber Alert went out. “Great job by the Seattle Police Department,” Sutton said.

Video from Air 4 showed a heavy police presence at Northeast 63rd Street and 15th Avenue Northeast in North Seattle Wednesday afternoon where several police vehicles rammed a silver Mercedesrt. Video also showed police pulling out a man who was wearing clothes matching the description of their suspect and eventually comforting a young boy who was in the vehicle. Police later confirmed that the man was the suspect, and the boy was the abducted child.

A second man was also in the car and was taken into custody.

Seattle police said there were no serious injuries, but video from Air 4 showed police officers and medics putting the suspect on a gurney.

Sutton said the boy was uninjured. He was taken to Seattle Children’s Hospital to be examined and was released.

The Washington State Patrol earlier issued an Amber Alert after the 5-year-old boy was taken by his father who then fled from police earlier Wednesday in Lake Forest Park. He was later involved in a hit-and-run crash, police said.

The father, identified as Taraille Chesney, 31, is known to be violent and dangerous, police said. He has a lengthy criminal record. His rap sheet shows 53 arrests and 10 felony convictions.

“Mr. Chesney is well known in this area and is a violent offender,” Sutton said.

The boy has been in the custody of the state, but was with a grandmother in Lake Forest Park, Sutton said.

Police responded to the home because of a 911 hang-up call, Sutton said. Officers saw a car believed to be Chesney’s speeding away and briefly chased it.

It took about 90 minutes for the Amber Alert to go out, Sutton said, because authorities had to confirm all the criteria for an Amber Alert. The sticking point was whether the child was in danger, Sutton said.

Almost as soon as the alert went out, tips began coming into the Seattle Police Department’s real time crime center, Sutton said.

Seattle police said the Ambert Alert went out at 1:30 p.m. and by 1:50 p.m., several people called 911 to say they had spotted the car in the University District. Police responded in force, and the car officers were trying to stop collided with several police vehicles.

Sutton said Chesney was involved in several crashes, including with Seattle police officers, before the boy was rescued.

Sutton said Chesney will likely face several charges, including DUI.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding parental abduction to or from The USA or Canada  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)

Canada/USA: Missing Vancouver boy found in Arizona; mother in custody


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Police say a missing nine-year-old Vancouver boy has been found safe more than 2,500 kilometres away in Phoenix, Ariz. after he was allegedly abducted by his mother earlier this month.

The child was reported missing on Friday, March 9 after his father, who shares custody of the boy, went to pick him up from school, but he wasn’t there.

Police were called in soon after and detectives with the Vancouver Police Department’s Special Investigations Section took over the case.

With the help of the United States Department of Homeland Security, the VPD were able to track down child, his mother and his younger sister on Tuesday.

The boy’s mother, Shawna Puja Chaudhary, has been taken into custody and is expected to be extradited to Canada.

Crown Counsel in B.C. has already approved charges against her in connection with the alleged abduction. Vancouver police say they will take her into custody once she’s back in the city.

Authorities are working with the Ministry of Children and Family Development to have the two children returned to Canada as well.

It’s unclear how Chaudhary crossed the border and if U.S. authorities had been informed about the alleged abduction.

“I don’t have the specifics on the route,” said VPD Const. Jason Doucette. “Obviously, they’ve crossed an international border and our partners in the United States have been more than helpful and we’ve worked together on this diligently.”

The boy’s father told CTV News Wednesday he is thankful his son is safe.

He couldn’t say, however, why Chaudhary chose to go to Phoenix, adding that she has no connection to the city that he knows of.

Chaudhary and the boy’s father share custody and have a court-ordered parenting schedule, but it’s unclear who will take care of him once he’s back in the country.

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If you have any questions or concerns regarding parental abduction to or from The USA or Canada  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)

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


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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)

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