Extradition procedure in the Republic of Cyprus and the EU

According to international law, the term Extradition is defined as the formal procedure by which one state, upon request of another state, surrenders a physical person to the latter, for prosecution, trial or punishment for a crime committed in the requesting state's jurisdiction and punishable by the laws of requesting state. 

The process is usually enabled by a bilateral or multilateral treaty, however, some states rarely proceed to the extradition without a formal convention in place. An extradition treaty is an international convention with a "dual criminality" approach, which classifies as extraditable crimes those that are punishable in both contracting parties' jurisdictions. 

In the Republic of Cyprus, the procedure of extradition is governed by the Extradition of Fugitive Offenders Law N. 97/1970, as amended since the entrance of the State into the European Convention on Extradition. The aforementioned legislation is a combination of the European Conventions' Provisions with those of the Commonwealth Scheme, which is why it is applicable to all requests originating from all States of the European Convention, as well as those deriving from Commonwealth countries. Moreover, the Republic of Cyprus is equally bound by bilateral agreements concluded by the United Kingdom prior to the country's independence, as those remain in force by succession, through a particular provision listed in the Treaty of Establishment.

The legal scope in the European Union.

While internationally, extradition procedures are subject to bilateral extradition treaties, on an EU level there is a simplified extradition procedure between Member States which does not affect, however, affect the application of more favorable provisions listed in bilateral or multilateral agreements. The Convention on simplified extradition procedure between EU Member States is known as the Council Act of 10 March 1995, adopted on the basis of Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union. The primary goal of the Act is to facilitate the application of the European Convention on Extradition signed on December 13th of 1957, among the EU Member States. For the application of the Simplified Extradition

Procedure, 2 (two) conditions must be fulfilled:
i) The individual, subject of the request must consent to be extradited under the aforementioned Procedure;
ii) The requested Member State must consent to the simplified extradition procedure. The Convention has been replaced on January 1st of 2004 by the Council Framework Decision of June 13th of 2002 on the European Arrest Warrant and the surrender procedures between the EU Member States, as published in the Official Journal (L 190 of 18/07/2002), however, it is still applicable in the event that the European Arrest Warrant cannot be applied. 

The role of the International Police Organization:

An Interpol Red Notice is an alert sent to inform police or border agents worldwide for an internationally wanted fugitive. Such a notice is accompanied by a valid arrest warrant or court order issued by the country requesting the extradition and it simultaneously alerts the competent authorities of all Member States to be on the watch. The individuals listed in this type of notices are not wanted by Interpol, but by a specific country or an international tribunal for prosecution or to serve a sentence. The requesting State may not always be the country of origin of the requested individual, but rather the territory where the crime was committed. Red Notices serve as support to extradition procedures, but are not legally binding and cannot oblige the law enforcement authorities of any State to proceed into any arrest. In fact, it is in each State's discretion to initiate any legal proceeding.

The procedure of Extradition in Cyprus:

The procedure of extradition includes several steps prior its' finalization. If Cyprus is the extraditing State receiving a request from abroad, the process is unfolded in the following way:
i) Receipt of the request for extradition;
ii) Receipt of a request for provisional arrest by the Ministry of Justice and Public Order, which is the central competent governmental organ, or by the police or diplomatic authorities.
iii) Oral hearing. This step is inherited from the Commonwealth legislations on extradition. The European Convention does not require a "prima facie" in the process.
iv) Court Decision. In the event that the extradition is approved by the judge, the fugitive retains the right to proceed with a filing of a "habeas corpus" , requesting a discharge. In this case, no surrender is permitted until the final decision of the competent Judge.

The present article is purely for informational purposes and does not, under any circumstances, constitute legal advice. For further information on the subject, please contact Arsen Theofanidis LLC and one of our advocates shall be glad to assist you.

N. Kalifatidou
Advocate – Legal Consultant
Arsen Theofanidis LLC