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European Arrest Warrant: reports on Eurojust casework 2014-16 and Member States' prison conditions
17.5.17
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EU judicial cooperation agency Eurojust recently issued two reports: one examining its casework in relation to the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) between 2014 and 2016, and the other summarising a recent debate held by Member States' representatives at Eurojust on the topic of EAWs and prison conditions.

European Arrest Warrant Casework - Report (2014-2016) (pdf):

"This Report concerns Eurojust’s casework in the field of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) in the period 2014-2016.

In this period, Eurojust continued to play a key role in improving the application of the EAW. The number of EAW cases registered at Eurojust has steadily increased, from 217 cases in 2013 266 cases in 2014, 292 cases in 2015 and 315 cases in 2016. In addition to the day-to-day operational work, Eurojust’s Judicial Cooperation Instrument Team holds regular meetings during which recent EAW cases are discussed in view of identifying difficulties and possible solutions.

This Report is not exhaustive. It focuses on the main issues identifiedin Eurojust’s EAW casework, including legal and practical obstacles in surrender procedures, and explains how Eurojust tried, whereever possible, to overcome them. The following topics are addressed: requests for information (infra II); transmission of EAWs (infra III); competing EAWs (infra IV); time limits (infra V); postponement of surrender and problems related to the actual surrender (infra VI); and prosecution for other offences (infra VII). While the majority of cases in which Eurojust intervened to facilitate the execution of EAWs were bilateral cases, Eurojust also provided important assistance in more complex multilateral cases (infra VIII). Eurojust also dealt with some cases in which national authorities were applying Aranyosi and Cãldãraru and Petruhhin case law (infra II. 1.4 and IX). Finally, Eurojust also opened four topics in relation to the EAW (infra X). The conclusion summarises the main findings of this Report (infra XI)."

The EAW and Prison Conditions - Outcome Report of the College Thematic Discussion (pdf):

"On 14 February 2017, the College of Eurojust held a thematic discussion on The EAW and Prison Conditions...

The objective of the Thematic Discussion was to exchange experience and ideas among National Desks on EAW cases in which judicial authorities experienced difficulties with the execution of EAWs due to allegedly inadequate prison conditions in the issuing Member States. During the Thematic Discussion, participants referred to the Aranyosi and Cãldãraru judgement and its impact in national cases. They exchanged experience and best practice, and looked at prospects for further Eurojust support to national practitioners.

(...)

NO BLAMING OR SHAMING

During the College Thematic Discussion, the Chair emphasized, from the very beginning, that the approach of the meeting was to abstain from ‘blaming or shaming’ specific Member States. On the basis of case law from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and CPT Reports, the issue of prison conditions can clearly potentially affect each Member State either as issuing and/or executing authority. Therefore, reflection together on potential solutions to situations with which each Member State can be confronted was considered important.

Some participants explained that their respective national authorities or ministries sometimes felt humiliated when they were asked to ‘guarantee’ that a specific prison comply with minimum European standards. Participants discussed and concluded that the exchange of information should, under no circumstances, be seen as a degrading exercise, but as an attempt to ensure a human-rights-compliant surrender. The use of the word ‘assurances’ or ‘guarantees’ might have, for some, a negative connotation, and perhaps speaking in more neutral terms of ‘request for supplementary information’ would be preferable. This approach would also be more in line with the Aranyosi and Cãldãraru judgement, in which the Court of Justice clearly abstains from taking over the term ‘assurances’ as mentioned by the referring national court and uses, in line with Article 15(2) EAW FD, the wording ‘supplementary information’. For this reason, this outcome report will use the term ‘supplementary information’ rather than ‘assurances’ or ‘guarantees’.

Some participants also expressed their concerns about possible polarisation, whereby the European Union is divided into two types of Member States, namely ‘good prison’ Member States and ‘bad prison’ Member States, potentially leading to ‘prison shopping’."

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