EU Justice Rules that European Arrest Warrants Can Be Refused Under Certain Circumstances

The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) rules that European Arrest Warrants (EAW) can be refused under certain circumstances, which is an important precedent for Catalan exiles. This case responds to pre-trial questions raised by the Dutch judiciary over doubts about the extradition of two Polish nationals demanded by their country’s judiciary through a European Arrest Warrant. Dutch judges saw that there was a real risk of violation of their right to an independent judge and trial.

The ECJ’s response is that judges in the country of which the Arrest Warrant is being addressed have an obligation to examine all the information provided by the person concerned as to decide whether their right to an impartial judge has been violated.

This is a very important precedent for exiled Catalan leaders Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín, Clara Ponsatí and Lluís Puig (as well as the rest of the exiles) who could see their extradition requests refused. This procedure, with a pending date for a hearing, began as a reaction from Spain’s Supreme Court Judge Pablo Llarena to the final decision of Belgian justice to refuse the extradition of Lluís Puig. Belgian justice argued that his rights to have an independent trial and presumption of innocence had been violated by Spain. This decision was made taking into account public statements by Spanish political leaders and among other things, warnings made by the United Nations arbitrary detention group.

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