Countries may receive multiple arrest warrants or requests for extradition concerning the same person. How do authorities decide which request to execute?
Eurojust provides guidelines for deciding on competing requests for surrender and extradition in a European context, covering situations of multiple European arrest warrants (EAWs) as well as conflicts between an EAW and a request for extradition presented by a third country.
Who is Eurojust?
Eurojust is an EU agency which helps to coordinate the fight against crime in Europe, assisting prosecutors and investigators in cases of serious crime affecting two or more Member States.
Typical crime areas dealt with include cybercrime, drug trafficking, financial crime, migrant smuggling, terrorism and human trafficking.
What factors are considered in deciding which request to execute?
The decision-making process is regulated by Article 16 of the Council Framework Decision on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedure between Member States.
Key questions to ask include:
- How serious is the offence?
- Where was the offence committed?
- When were the requests made?
- What purpose will the requests serve?
In addition, other factors that could be relevant include the date of the offence, the current stage of proceedings, the interests of victims and the possibility of extradition.
The guidelines outline five main scenarios and their implications.
Two or more EAWs against the same person for prosecution of the same offence(s).
In this case there is a conflict of jurisdiction. Which jurisdiction should prosecute?
Two or more EAWs against the same person for prosecution of different offences.
The key question concerns the sequence of prosecutions. Which jurisdiction should prosecute first?
Relevant factors to consider are outlined in the Eurojust Guidelines for deciding ‘Which jurisdiction should prosecute?
Two or more EAWs against the same person of which one (or more) EAW(s) for prosecution and one (or more) EAW(s) for the execution of a custodial sentence or a detention order in relation to different offences.
The main questions for the executing authority to consider include:
- Which jurisdiction will suffer the greatest loss if the prosecution must await the outcome of a prosecution in another jurisdiction?
- Is any Member State likely to object to the surrender?
- How serious are the offences?
Two or more EAWs against the same person for the execution of two or more custodial sentences or detention orders in relation to different offences.
The key questions concern the sequence for serving two or more custodial sentences or detention orders in different Member States.
What is the possibility of a subsequent surrender or a transfer of prisoners? Will the prison authorities in the Member States concerned cooperate on the planning and practical arrangements for the serving of the sentences?
EAW(s) and request(s) for extradition regarding the same person.
This scenario deals with situations where one or more EAW(s) compete(s) with one or more request(s) for extradition.
Factors considered throughout scenarios 1-4 may be considered in this scenario, whilst also considering the nationality/EU citizenship of the requested person and any specific bilateral or multilateral agreements in place.