Today Due Process, in association with Centre for Research into Post-Communist Economies (CRCE), has published the report “Human Rights abuses in European Arrest Warrant member states“. Written by Emily Barley, Lisl Biggs-Davison and Chris Alderton.
This report brings together, for the first time, data and a contextual analysis concerning key aspects of the performance of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) over recent years. Written from a UK perspective by experts who have a passion for human rights and due process, it not only presents key evidence and insights on those countries that the UK most commonly surrenders people subject to EAWs to, but it also presents new evidence on which EU states are the worst violators of human rights according to the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights.
As such, this report seeks to inform an area of debate all too often overlooked by mainstream politicians, journalists and opinion formers.
Whilst a few have argued that the EAW, with its fast track extradition procedure and presumption of parity in quality of EU member state justice systems, does not adequately protect individuals from human rights abuses, this report reveals that along with the likes of Russia, Turkey and Ukraine, there are indeed EU countries which have similar – and in some instances worse – human rights records and which need to be treated with an urgent wariness.
Time and again, this report shows that the European Arrest Warrant does not adequately protect human rights or ensure due process.
Whilst the EU assumes that under the auspices of the EAW all member states should be treated with equality and reciprocity, this report demonstrates that in reality there are wild variations in legal and humanitarian practices between states.
Under the EAW system, UK judges are not allowed to reject EAWs because of a lack of evidence. Judges are automatically precluded from looking at the prima facie case. This alone leaves the system open to incompetence and widespread abuse.
Such political and judicial ‘blind spots’ should be of concern to anyone who believes that human rights, as laid out by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), should be respected. It is important that the flaws of the EAW system and their potential for human rights abuses are not only acknowledged but safeguarded against, especially as UK seeks to leave the EU and its various institutions.
The report argues that the UK should top extraditing people to those EU states where politicians and judiciaries frequently conspire to undermine due process and abuse human rights with unfair trials and inhumane prison conditions. Whether individual readers favour Brexit or Remain is irrelevant. What matters, is a better way forward – not least for many of the EU countries highlighted by the research at the heart of this study.
Download the full report here: Human Rights abuses in European Arrest Warrant member states