I would like to help today and donate

Next
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Next
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
CLOSE
NEWS

Fair Trials welcomes CJEU judgement on European Arrest Warrant and detention conditions

editor - April 6, 2016 - Court of Justice of the European Union, European Arrest Warrant, LEAP, legal experts advisory panel, Pre-trial detention

European_Court_of_Justice_-_Luxembourg_(1674586821) Court of Justice of the European Union, Luxembourg
On 5 April, in its decision in the Aranyosi and Căldăraru cases (C-404/15 and C-659/15 PPU), the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has confirmed that Member States are obliged to respect the fundamental rights of requested people when considering European Arrest Warrants (EAW). Fair Trials welcomes the judgment, in which the EU Court puts to rest the fallacy that the EAW is a “no questions asked” mechanism, and affirms the duty of Member States to conduct rigorous human rights enquiries prior to deciding extradition cases, and to block extraditions where there is a real risk that requested people will be subjected to detention conditions that infringe their fundamental rights.
The decision is especially welcome given the alarming tone of Advocate-General Bot’s opinion on the case from several weeks ago, which prompted Fair Trials, together with 19 other signatories from its LEAP network, to write a letter to Věra Jourová, the Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality at the European Commission, to express grave concerns. The Opinion suggested that judicial authorities should execute a European Arrest Warrant even if there is a risk of inhuman or degrading treatment to the requested person.
Thankfully, the EU Court rejected Advocate-General Bot’s position, and has made clear that Article 4 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights prohibiting torture and ill treatment is an absolute and non-derogable right that continues to apply in the context of mutual recognition. This clarion call should be noted by judges and Member States across the EU who have been reticent to consider fundamental rights challenges to European Arrest Warrants.
In practical terms, the judgment obliges judicial authorities to defer execution of an EAW until the requesting Member State has provided sufficient information to make clear whether the requested person’s fundamental rights are at real risk of infringement. If sufficient information is not forthcoming within a “reasonable period” of time, the judicial authority may decide to end surrender proceedings.
The Court’s tacit support for the widespread use of assurances from requesting Member States in relation to detention conditions should also highlight the glaring absence of information as to the actual treatment of individuals post-extradition. No monitoring currently takes place to ensure that fundamental rights promised by requesting states are in fact respected. Fair Trials is coordinating an innovative new project, “Beyond Surrender,” which aims to track a small number of such cases. However, this project cannot substitute for comprehensive human rights monitoring.
The affirmation that EU courts must block extraditions where a requested person risks being held in intolerable detention conditions also heightens the urgent imperative for the EU to legislate against the unjustified use of pre-trial detention in order to reduce overcrowding and improve prison conditions. Fair Trials will be presenting a major report on its 2 year-long research project on the quality of pre-trial detention decision-making, and recommendations for EU legislation in this area, at an event at the European Parliament on 26 May.

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +44 (0) 7950 849 851.
For regular updates follow Fair Trials on Twitter or sign up to our monthly bulletin at the bottom of the page.

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +32 (0) 2 360 04 71.

Keep up to date

Receive updates on our work and news about Fair Trials globally

Activities in the following sections on this website are supported by the Justice Programme of the European Union: Legal Experts Advisory Panel, Defence Rights Map, Case Law Database, Advice Guides and Latest News. More information about our financial supporters is available here.