What happens after surrender of wanted person? HFHR analyses European Arrest Warrant practices
The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights started the implementation of a European project named “Beyond Surrender” concerning the European Arrest Warrant (EAW).
The European Arrest Warrant is a procedure that is a simplified form of extradition and has been used by the European Union Member States since 2004. “Surrender of a wanted person became significantly easier within the EU, making it more difficult to escape criminal responsibility. On the other hand, the simplification of the procedure results in a greater probability of human rights violations. The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights notes various problems relating to the use of the EAW”, explains Katarzyna Wiśniewska, an attorney of the HFHR and the project’s expert.
“Our goal is to record the stories of persons surrendered on the basis of the EAW and to see how the surrender process changed their life. Together with our partner organisations, we want to raise the awareness of lawyers and formulate recommendations for EU legislators”, said Joanna Smętek, the project’s coordinator. “That is why we will comprehensively monitor twenty cases in which Polish courts issued EAWs and a person was surrendered”.
The EAW system is based on the principle of mutual recognition of judgments. “Thus it is based on mutual trust between the Member States that they will ensure an appropriate level of human rights protection after the surrender. This is precisely the matter that we want to examine”, adds Marcin Wolny, a researcher of the project.
The project is co-financed by the European Commission, and Fair Trials Europe is responsible for coordinating the project on the European level. Besides the HFHR, the project is also implemented by partners from Lithuania (Lithuanian Human Rights Monitoring Institute), Romania (APADOR-CH) and Spain (Rights International Spain).
Coverage of the project’s launch event may be accessed here.