07/04/2020 - - Legislation
The CJEU delivered a judgment on the Case C-897/19 on extradition of an EFTA citizen to a 3rd country

The CJEU delivered a judgment on the Case C-897/19 on extradition of an EFTA citizen to a 3rd country


On April 2nd 2020 the CJEU delivered a judgment in Case C-897/19 Ruska Federacija, referred to it by Croatia in extradition proceedings initiated by Russia against a Russian citizen for prosecution of corruption-related offences. Apart from his Russian nationality, the sought person had initially a refugee status in Iceland, which was granted to him due to the same criminal proceedings in Russia, and later acquired Icelandic nationality. The CJEU was requested to assess if the EU fundamental freedoms and fundamental rights could be afforded to a national of a State of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which is a party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA), and if the reasoning of the Court in the Petruhhin case should be followed.

The Court concluded that the case falls within the scope of application of EU law and, more specifically, that of the EEA Agreement, which, as an international agreement concluded by the European Union, is an integral part of EU law. The Court pointed out that Iceland enjoyed a special relationship with the European Union since it is a member of the Schengen area, a party to the EEA Agreement, a third State participating in the common European asylum system and had concluded with the European Union an Agreement on the surrender procedure. Furthermore, the CJEU noted that the fundamental freedoms afforded to EU citizens (in Article 56 TFEU) are identical to the ones afforded in the EEA agreement (in Article 36) and thus are to be afforded to the Icelandic national who travelled to Croatia to receive services. In this context, the Court also decided that the Icelandic national is also covered by the protection of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and in the current case in Article 4 and 19(2) of the Charter,

The conclusion of the CJEU is that the Petruhhin judgment could be applied in analogy to the case concerning Icelandic national that is subject to extradition proceedings on request by Russia. As such a requested Member State must verify, in accordance with Article 19(2) of the Charter, that, in the event of extradition, the person concerned would not be subjected to a risk of death penalty, torture, or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In addition, the Court held that, before proposing to execute the extradition request, that Member State must inform the EFTA State, in order to enable it to seek the surrender of its national, provided that that State has jurisdiction, pursuant to its national law, to prosecute that person for offences committed outside its national territory.

The full judgment could be accessed here

Read the press release here

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