The EU simplified extradition procedure

A human beings’ fundamental right to free movement and residence can be subject to an international and / or European warrant issued by the Competent Authorities of each country in cooperation with Interpol or Europol.

The placement of an individual’s identification information on the list of wanted persons converts such person into a fugitive and the procedure of extradition of the subject to the country where he/she is wanted, in order to be charged for a crime or to be sentenced, turns into reality.

According to the legal provisions of the proceeding, the country of issuance has the legal obligation to submit all necessary documentation within a specific timeframe. Failure to act or lack of proof of one of the required documents leads to the rejection of the entire proceeding of the extradition.

Furthermore, the proof of the double criminality principle is absolutely mandatory in order to build a case. According to this principle, the offense for which the extradition of an individual is being sought must constitute a crime in both the demanding as well as the requested country.

While there are numerous extradition agreements on an international level, the European Union has adopted a simplified extradition procedure between its’ Member States, by adopting the most favorable provisions of already existing bilateral and/or multilateral agreements. In fact, the Act of March 10th of 1995, founded on Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union, adopted by the Council aims to facilitate the extradition procedure which was originally established by the European Convention on Extradition of December 13th of 1957, which was adopted by the Council of Europe, an international organization separate to the European Union. Under this simplified extradition procedure, two conditions must be fulfilled; firstly, the wanted individual must consent to be extradited and secondly, the requested State must give its’ agreement to the extradition of the physical person in question.

Moreover, the requesting State must provide to the requested State the following information:

i) The identity of the wanted individual;
ii) The authority requesting the arrest and extradition;
iii) An existing arrest warrant and/or another document which would have the same legal effect and/or an enforceable judgment;
iv) Information regarding the nature of the offense along with its’ legal description;
v) A description of the circumstances under which the offense was committed;
vi) The consequences of the offense
vii) Further information which the requested State may need, in case of insufficiency of evidential support.

Upon arrest of an individual on the territory of a Member State, for extradition purposes, the competent authority of the requested State is legally obliged to inform the individual in question, in accordance with the national law. Moreover, the individuals’ consent, where appropriate, along with the renunciation of the right to be covered by the speciality rule are irrevocable under normal circumstances. Thus, the requested State has the right to explicitly indicate upon declaration that the aforementioned rights may be revoked, in accordance to the national law. In addition, the requested State has the right to declare that once the individual concerned consents to extradition, Article 14 of the European Convention on Extradition, regarding the speciality rule, does not apply.

On the other hand, international and European conventions on human rights, as well as fundamental rights as laid down in most Constitutions, grant all individuals the right to defense before the Courts of Justice, while the judges and juries take into account all factors prior to deliberating.

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

Kalifatidou & M. Neophytou

Advocates – Legal Consultants

Arsen Theofanidis LLC