Monday 30 November 2020

No blanket refusal of Polish arrest warrants, says EU high court advisor

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg Photo: Molly Quell

An advisor to the EU’s high court has said that the Netherlands cannot automatically refuse extradition requests from Poland.

The district court in Amsterdam referred the issue to the Court of Justice earlier this year after refusing to extradite two Polish nationals on the grounds that the Polish judicial system was no longer independent.  This, the Amsterdam court said, meant it could not guarantee the right of a fair trial to anyone extradited there.

‘No matter how thought-provoking the solution proposed by the referring court may be, it is not compatible with that already provided by the court,’ the European court’s advocate general Manuel Campos Sánchez-Bordona wrote in Thursday’s opinion.

Rather, the refusal to execute a European arrest warrant is an ‘exceptional response that must correspond to exceptional circumstances’, the advocate general said. This is turn, ‘does not require the automatic non-execution’ of every arrest warrant issued by legal systems where there are systemic or generalised deficiencies, he said.

Opinions from advocates general are non-binding, but final rulings from the court follow them in four out of five cases. A final ruling on the case is expected before the end of the year.

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