Appeals Waivable in Speedy EU Extraditions

     (CN) – While conducting speedy extraditions, EU states can hurdle the typical appeals process in cross-border arrest warrant proceedings, the Court of Justice ruled Thursday.
     The Luxembourg-based court reached the decision while looking at the child abduction charges against Jeremy F., as he is identified in the ruling.
     French police arrested Jeremy F. days after the United Kingdom issued the arrest warrant in September 2012. The suspect consented to extradition at a hearing before the appellate court in Bordeaux but did not invoke the specialty rule that would prohibit British officials from adding charges not included on the arrest warrant.
     France extradited Jeremy F. to the U.K. within two weeks of his arrest. On Oct. 22, however, British authorities asked the French appeals court for permission to prosecute the man on other charges not related to the arrest warrant. Following a December hearing, the Bordeaux court decided in January to extend the arrest warrant to cover the new charges, which included unlawful sexual conduct with a female minor.
     Jeremy F. appealed that decision to the French Court of Cassation. That court asked France’s constitutional council whether the Bordeaux court’s decision – which was final and not appealable – complied with criminal procedure and constitutional law.
     For the first time in its existence, the French constitutional council referred a question to the Court of Justice for the European Union, asking whether EU law allows appeals on extradition orders. The council also asked the high court to fast-track the case in light of the possible deprivation of liberty to Jeremy F.
     In its French-only ruling, the Court of Justice found that EU law neither demands nor prohibits appellate proceedings for extraditions. It does, however, require member states to execute arrest warrants quickly – within 10 days after a suspect consents to surrender in most cases, the court said. In some cases, that time limit can be extended to 60 days, and a warrant can be held indefinitely in “exceptional circumstances, the court added.
     Member states should typically be able to extradite suspects within 30 days after the arrest warrant is issued, according to the ruling. In countries that have adopted an appeals process for extradition hearings, the entire process must comply with EU framework time limits, the court concluded.

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