EU arrest warrant – falling apart?

In another blow to the European arrest warrant, Spain’s national court has announced that it will no longer use the fast-track procedure when dealing with Germany.

In July 2005, the German constitutional court ruled that the European arrest warrant procedure was contrary to the German constitution. As a result, Mamoun Darkanzali, wanted by Spain on terrorist charges, was released (see EURACTIV 19 July 2005).

Spain has now hit back. One of its highest courts has indicated that in respect of German extradition requests, it will no longer use the EU procedure, but will revert to the old long-winded rules. If Germany does not present the correct paper-work within 40 days, said the court, it will release prisoners. Around 50 people currently held in Spanish jails are under extradition requests from Germany.

The European arrest warrant, brought in as an antiterrorism measure in 2002, is designed to speed up the cumbersome procedures by which it could take 270 days to extradite a suspect from one member state to another. In February 2005, the Commission hailed the procedure as an ‘overall success’ which had reduced the average time taken to 45 days.

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