Extradition law, treaties & international law

This section includes links to international and regional laws and treaties which establish and/or reinforce the principle of non-refoulement, bilateral extradition treaties with China, China's own extradition law, as well as a brief overview of key judicial precedents (for more, see Section Judicial Precedents).

Click the link in the description to download the file or the corresponding link at the bottom of the page to open in a new window. There are also links to downloadable PDFs on the top right.

Safeguard Defenders' extradition to China manual Hide and Seek provides links to a more extensive list of legal documents.


International and regional laws and treaties

Extradition law of China (2000)

UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951)

European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) (1953)

European Convention on Extradition (1957)

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966)

American Convention on Human Rights (1969)

UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Degrading or Inhuman Treatment or Punishment (CAT) (1984)

Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) (2002)

International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (2010)

ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (2012)

African Commission on Human and People's Rights - The Robben Island Guidelines (2022)


Key case law

European Court of Human Rights​' ruling on Khasanov and Rakhmanov v. Russia, Applications nos. 28492/15 and 49975/15

Judgment emphasizes the need to take into consideration reports from foreign governments and NGOs when assessing the likelihood of torture and human rights violations and not to rely solely on information from the requesting State.

European Court of Human Rights​' ruling on Othman (Abu Qatada) v. The United Kingdom, Application no. 8139/09

On fair trials. [266] The use of evidence secured via torture is a flagrant violation of the right to a fair trial/hearing, and denied extraction on this basis alone [287].

On diplomatic assurances. [189]  The judgment concluded that the following was needed to properly assess whether diplomatic assurances can overcome concerns of torture and/or ill-treatment:

The Court will assess first, the quality of assurances given and, second, whether, in light of the receiving State’s practices they can be relied upon. In doing so, the Court will have regard, inter alia, to the following factors:

  • (i)  whether the terms of the assurances have been disclosed to the Court;
  • (ii)  whether the assurances are specific or are general and vague;
  • (iii)  who has given the assurances and whether that person can bind the receiving State);
  • (iv)  if the assurances have been issued by the central government of the receiving State, whether local authorities can be expected to abide by them;
  • (v)  whether the assurances concerns treatment which is legal or illegal in the receiving State;
  • (vi)  whether they have been given by a Contracting State;
  • (vii)the length and strength of bilateral relations between the sending and receiving States, including the receiving State’s record in abiding by similar assurances;
  • (viii)  whether compliance with the assurances can be objectively verified through diplomatic or other monitoring mechanisms, including providing unfettered access to the applicant’s lawyers;
  • (ix)  whether there is an effective system of protection against torture in the receiving State, including whether it is willing to cooperate with international monitoring mechanisms (including international human rights NGOs), and whether it is willing to investigate allegations of torture and to punish those responsible ;
  • (x)  whether the applicant has previously been ill-treated in the receiving State; and
  • (xi)  whether the reliability of the assurances has been examined by the domestic courts.

European Court of Human Rights​' ruling on Liu v. Poland, Application no. 37610/18

The definitive ruling on extradition to China, which unanimously denied the extradition of Liu (an economic criminal) on the grounds of a generalized situation of torture and ill-treatment. Attempt at appeal against ruling failed. Now in effect since January 2023. See Past cases and judgments section for more information.

Canada Supreme Court Suresh v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

The Supreme Court raised the issue of "relying too heavily on assurances by a state that it will refrain from torture in the future when it has engaged in illegal torture or allowed others to do so on its territory in the past". It also mentioned that "In evaluating assurances by a foreign government, the Minister may also wish to take into account the human rights record of the government giving the assurances, the government’s record in complying with its assurances, and the capacity of the government to fulfill the assurances, particularly where there is doubt about the government’s ability to control its security forces."


Extradition treaties

Some treaties below are available in English translations, but most are in the host country's language.