Monday, 16 July 2007

Cilivl Liberty Group has concerns over EU arrest warrants

It seems the European Arrest Warrants (EAW), requiring the arrest and extradition of suspects from one EU country to another may be being abused. Why would we be surprised?

Statewatch, the civil liberties group has obtained a secret (it would be) EU report. Campaigners are concerned that the EAW does not allow refusal, if the offence does not exist under national laws and makes no requirement for a proportionality test.

The Secret report concedes: "The principle of proportionality requires that in each case a comparison be made between the seriousness of the offence and resources to be deployed in the executing state and, in particular, that it involves the deprivation of liberty of an individual."

"The EAW does not include any obligation for a proportionality check either by the issuing or executing member state, nor does it include any grounds for non-recognition related to it,"

It seems fast-track extradition warrants are often being issued for relatively minor offences, demanding the costly extradition of people for offences such as possession of 0.45 grams of cannabis, the theft of two car tyres - and in one instance piglet rustling. Officials are concerned that the warrants are being used "disproportionately" to the seriousness of offences.

The Warrants can even be applied when the offence is not even an offence under the laws of the country the warrant is executed in.