Strategic Litigation

Case summary: Right to information in European Arrest Warrant proceedings

Case C-105/21 - Preliminary reference from the Bulgarian Specialised Criminal Court

Published: (Last updated: )

On 28 January 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued a judgement in the case (C-649/19),[1] finding that Articles 4 (Letter of rights on arrest), 6 (right to information about the accusation) and 7 (right to access materials of the case) of Directive 2012/13 on the right to information (“Directive 2012/13”) do not require the requested person to be informed of their rights in relation to the national arrest warrant before surrender. [2] According to the Court, a person acquires the status of a “suspect or accused person” within the meaning of Directive 2012/13 only when the person concerned is surrendered to the issuing Member State and can exercise their rights under Directive 2012/13 after surrender.

A Bulgarian lawyer, Asya Mandzhukova, submitted a legal opinion in the case. She argued that a detained person against whom an EAW is issued, and who has the status of an “accused person” in the parallel national proceedings, does not lose this status during the EAW proceedings both prior to and after detention in the executing state. Further, the detention in the executing Member State is, from the point of view of national proceedings, detention within the meaning of Article 5(1)(c) of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR), which prescribes the lawfulness of pre-trial detention. Thus, the requested person is entitled to all the rights under Directive 2012/13 and Article 5 ECHR for detainees in the context of criminal suspicion and the corresponding obligations of the issuing Member State.


[1] CJEU, Case C-649/19, Judgement of 28 January 2021.
[2] Directive 2012/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2012 on the right to information in criminal proceedings (OJ L 142, 1.6.2012, p. 1–10).