Frequently Asked Questions

In what circumstances can an EAW be issued against me?

An EAW can be issued against you if you have been charged with a criminal offence (carrying a maximum sentence of minimum 12 months imprisonment) in a European Union (EU) Member State1, and that State wants you to face trial there. It can also be issued if you have been tried and convicted in an EU Member State and that State wants you to serve your prison sentence.

What kind of offences can an EAW apply to?

An EAW can be issued for a wide range of offences, from involvement in serious organised crime and terrorism to more minor offences like theft. In some cases you can be extradited even if the alleged activity is not a criminal offence in the country considering the extradition request.

Can the judge or the Government stop my extradition?

It is the Court’s decision whether to extradite you – the Government has no role in the decision.

Although it is in practice very difficult to resist extradition, a court can refuse on the following grounds:

1. You are not the person named in the EAW or the EAW has not been properly completed;

2. You have already been convicted or acquitted by a court in another Member State in respect of the same offence; o In some countries, if an unreasonable period of time has passed since the events concerned;

3.The time limit for prosecuting you for the offence has expired; or You have not reached the age of criminal responsibility under the national laws of the State from which your extradition is requested.

Note that some countries may have additional grounds for refusing to execute a EAW .You should ask your lawyer to explain on what grounds you can resist extradition in your specific case. In principle, you should not be extradited if you can prove that your human rights have been or will be violated in the country seeking your extradition. It is, however, difficult in practice to resist extradition on this ground. If you fear that your human rights may be violated, you should contact us today. 

The Court has decided not to extradite me, am I free to travel now?

Once the court of one country has decided not to extradite you, you will not be subject to further arrest on the same EAW in that country. However, the country that requested your extradition will still be able to seek your extradition from other countries. Therefore, your name will still be on the Europe-wide police alert system, and you will be at risk of being arrested and extradited if you travel to another country. Although there is no straightforward system to obtain the removal of an EAW, you should ask your lawyer for specific advice in your case.

 

 

 

 

THE EXTRADITION PROCESS UNDER AN EAW

The process that is followed will vary from country to country so you need to ask your lawyer (in the country where you are facing extradition) for details about the procedure. The following is an outline of the key features of the EAW process, which are common to all EU member states. Note: There may also be an international arrest warrant that will allow for your arrest outside Europe.

If there is an EAW against me, will I get arrested by the police?

Once there is an EAW against you, your name will be on the Europe-wide police database. You may then be arrested in any of the countries of the European Union. The police may contact you by telephoning your home and asking you to attend a local police station. They may also choose to visit you at a known address and serve the EAW on you there. Arrests commonly also take place when people cross a border or when they are stopped by the police for unrelated reasons (such as driving offences).

Can I get legal advice? If I cannot afford to pay for a lawyer, will I get legal aid?

When you are served with an EAW, you have a right to be assisted by a lawyer and by an interpreter. The rules governing free legal representation (i.e. legal aid) vary from country to country.

Will I have to go to court?

Shortly after your arrest, a judicial authority will hear you to:

  • Seek confirmation that you are the person named on the EAW;
  • Explain the reasons for your arrest under the EAW;
  • Explain to you that you may consent to return to the country which issued the EAW;
  • Determine the date upon which the extradition hearing will be held if you choose not to consent; and
  • Decide whether to keep you in custody until the extradition hearing or whether to grant bail. If you choose not to consent to the extradition there will then be an extradition hearing.

At this hearing the judicial authority decides:

  • Whether the offence is extraditable;
  • Whether there are any bars to extradition;
  • In addition, at the extradition hearing the judge may look at factors such as whether there is a real risk that your human rights could be infringed if you are extradited.

Practice varies from state to state and if you have human rights concerns, for example about how you will be treated in detention if you are extradited, or any serious medical concerns, you should contact us immediately.

If there are no bars or incompatibilities then the judicial authority must order your extradition.

 Can I appeal against a decision to extradite me?

This will vary from country to country. Most countries allow at least one appeal against extradition, but some do not. 

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