06/04/2016 - - General
European Arrest Warrant - Judgment of the Court of Justice (CJEU) regarding the detention conditions in the issuing Member State

On 5 April 2016, the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) delivered an important judgment in the Joint Cases C-404/15 Aranyosi and C-659/15PPU Căldăraru.

This judgment might have a significant impact on the practical application of the Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA on the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) and the surrender procedures between the EU Member States.  

The CJEU was asked to clarify how an executing judicial authority should proceed with regard to the execution of an EAW if there are risks that the detention conditions in the issuing Member State are not compatible with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU (“the Charter”).

While reaffirming that the mutual recognition and mutual trust are the rule (paragraphs 75-80 of the judgment), the CJEU recalled (paragraphs 82-87) that exceptions from this rule are possible in exceptional circumstances and underlined that the Charter is the frame of reference for examining the elements that indicate that there is a risk of inhuman or degrading treatments (paragraph 88).

The main elements of the CJEU judgment can be summarised as follows:

  • The risk of inhuman or degrading treatment in detention must be real. In order to verify this aspect, the executing judicial authority must verify, concretely and substantively, whether substantial grounds are present for believing that, in the specific case at hand, due to the detention conditions in the issuing Member State, the person, if surrendered, faces a real risk of being subject to inhuman or degrading treatment, in the meaning of Article 4 of the Charter. To this end, the executing judicial authority shall ask the issuing judicial authority to provide it, within a fixed deadline, with complementary information. The issuing judicial authority needs to provide this information within the fixed deadline.
  • The obligation to verify the existence of such real risk applies both in the case of EAWs issued for the purpose of prosecution and to those issued for the purpose of executing a custodial sentence.
  • The executing judicial authority must postpone its decision regarding the surrender until it receives complementary information that discounts the existence of such a risk.
  • If the risk cannot be discounted within a reasonable period, the executing judicial authority needs to decide whether there is a need to bring the surrender procedure to an end.

The CJEU also reminds Member States of their obligation under Article 17(7) EAW FD to inform Eurojust in case of delays with regard to decisions to execute an EAW  (para 99).

 For a comprehensive presentation of this important judgment, you may consult the press release issued by the Court. The English version of the judgment is now available.

 You can also find below the French and German versions of the judgment.

  • ® 2020 EJN. All Rights Reserved