The European Arrest Warrant: The Role of Judges When Human Rights are at Risk

AuthorCatherine Heard,Daniel Mansell
Published date01 June 2011
Date01 June 2011
Subject MatterAnalysis and Opinions
New Journal of Eur opean Crimina l Law, Vol. 2, Issue 2, 2011 133
tHe eURoPeAn ARRest WARRAnt:
tHe RoLe oF JUDGes WHen HUMAn
C H and D M*
is article examines the role of the judiciary in p rotecting f undamental rights in
European extradition ca ses, in particular the impac t of the European Court of Human
Rights’ decision in Mss v Belgium an d Greece.
e last decade has seen t he Europe an Union focus signica nt polic y energy on
building an EU-wide ‘area of justice, freedom and security’, ambitiously borrowing
internal market concepts to bring about eective free movement of judicia l decisions
within Europe. In the creation of this common enforcement space, the EU has
continually looked for ways of expediting and standardising many aspects of cross-
border cooperation be tween police and judici al authorities, includi ng evidence-
gathering, ex tradition and the transfer of prisoners. e basis for this cooperation is
the principle of ‘mutual recogn ition’: the mandatory execution of decisions on the
basis of mutual trust – and the virtual elimi nation of any judicial or political discretion
to look behind cooperation requests from fel low EU countries.
is a rticle asks whether the mutual trust necessary for such cooperation really
exists, or whe ther judges are being asked to place ‘blind faith ’ in other EU countries’
ability to uphold the fundamental rights of those facing criminal charges in their
jurisdic tions.
* Fair Trials Internat ional. FTI is a charit y that campaigns on behal f of those facing trial in a cou ntry
other tha n their own. We prov ide assistance to individua ls through ou r dedicated cas ework team,
while ght ing the underlyi ng causes of injustic e with our policy interventions, rese arch and
traini ng. While FTI welcomes lega l measures that i mprove cross-borde r cooperation in t ackling
serious crime, we do no t believe individua ls’ fund amental r ights shou ld be compromised i n the

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