Statewatch News online: UK publishes Extradition Bill

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UK government publishes "Extradition Bill"

The UK government has published today (27.6.02) its "Extradition Bill" to put into effect the EU Framework Decision on the European Arrest warrant and surrender procedures (which also includes the search and seizure of property based on an order issued by another EU Member State): text of Bill and Explanatory Memorandum: Text (link to Home Office page)

The Framework Decision was rushed through the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union (the 15 governments) before Christmas as part of post 11 September anti-terrorist measure although it has little to do with terrorism as it covers a whole range of crimes.

Statewatch coverage:

Irish government not consulted (March 2002): Report
Parliament opposed in Sweden (March 2002): Report
Early implementation: UK U-turn (March 2002): Report
Six EU governments agree early implementation of European arrest warrant (February 2002): Report
Text of the actual European arrest warrant released by Council (February 2002): Report
European Parliament supports EU definition of terrorism and European arrest warrant (February 2002): Report
European Parliament vote postponed on European arrest warrant (December 2001): Report
MEPs demand arrest warrant vote to be postponed (December 2001): Report
Statewatch report and analysis on the European arrest warrant (October 2001): Statewatch analysis


Proposed Framework Decision on a European Arrest Warrant from the Commission, COM (2001) 522, 19.9.01: Full-text (pdf)

Council of the EU (the member states) response to the Comission proposal, 12646/01, 10.10.01: Full-text (pdf)

Statewatch analysis of the Commission proposal with an addendum (16.10.01) on this Council response: Analysis (pdf)

Council of the European Union final adopted text: Full-text (pdf) Full-text (Word 97) correction: COR (Word 97)

Draft text of actual "European arrest warrant", 5327/02: Full-text (pdf)

Extradition Bill: Liberty reaction 27.6.02

John Wadham, director of Liberty, said after the Bill's launch:

"Ministers say people will still be able to appeal - but 80 per cent of people are extradited to EU countries, for which appeals will be so limited they cannot even consider whether there is evidence to justify the warrant against you, or whether you will receive a fair trial. Similarly, no-one will check whether there is evidence to support extradition requests from non-EU countries. The system is being opened up to dangerous abuse".

"Extradition protections are not about helping people evade justice: they're about helping ensure that justice is actually done.

"We have no objection to speeding up the bureaucracy of the process, but standards and protections must be maintained. Before people - who may well be innocent - are taken away from their homes to a foreign prison, under foreign laws, British courts should continue to be able to assess the strength of evidence against a person.

"Our courts should establish there is a good reason for the huge step of extradition. Reducing appeals puts that process at risk: the EU arrest warrant practically destroys it.

"Does the Home Office so lack imagination that it believes the only way to speed up a judicial process is by opening the door wide to potential injustice? Once again, they are trying to answer problems of resources and
bureaucracy by weakening safeguards for justice."

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