EU arrest warrant challenged in German court

The German constitutional court in Karlsruhe is considering a case which may decide that the European arrest warrant breaches the German national constitution.

The case, on which two days of legal argument were held on 13-14 April, 2005, concerns the requested extradition by Spain of Mamoun Darkazanli of Hamburg, on charges of being an Al-Qaeda member. 

The German constitution forbids extradition on charges which are not contrary to German law, and Spain’s request, authorised under the EU arrest warrant, was refused at the last minute on appeal to the Karlsruhe court. It will be several months before the court delivers its final judgment.

The case highlights a fundamental problem with the EU arrest warrant: the extradictable offences listed are not against the criminal law in all member states. In Italy there has been much argument over just this point and the arrest warrant scheme, adopted by EU ministers in 2002, was only implemented in Italy on 12 April this year.

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