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Abstract

Child snatching by parents or parental child abduction is a frequent occurrence in today’s world. The high rate of divorce, coupled with the conflict in social values as to custody and access rights of parents, has fuelled an increase in child kidnapping. More and more persons from different nationalities and different countries are marrying. When these marriages break down and custody rights are given to one parent, the ’losing parent’ may be tempted to abduct the children and flee the jurisdiction. Such cases are now notorious. In Australia the alleged abduction by a Malaysian prince of his Australian children has caused national consternation and a call for increased government intervention. One solution to this problem is to use the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of Child Abduction to recover and return the child to his/her custodial parent. But what happens if a country is not a party to the Convention? To what extent is it possible to prosecute and extradite a ’defaulting’ parent for child abduction and to use this as a tool to recover the child?

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