Can a court dealing with a Hague Convention application order a child to be returned to the non-removing parent, rather than to the country where the minor was habitually resident?

Yes, in exceptional circumstances, apparently, according to the Perez-Vera Explanatory Report to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction. This makes specific reference is made to this in Paragraph 110. It points out that where the parent applying for the return order no longer lives in the country from where the child was habitually resident prior to the abduction, ordering his/her return there could cause practical problems returning the child there e.g. where that parent has ended a posting in that country. It says: 'The Convention did not accept a proposal to the effect that the return of the child should always be to the State of his habitual residence before its removal…. The Convention's silence on this matter must therefore be understood as allowing the authorities of the State of refuge to return the child directly to the applicant, regardless of the latter's present place of reference.'
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