The European Parliament today overwhelmingly backed a report by Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford calling for major reforms to the European Arrest Warrant, including a human rights safeguard clause to help avoid miscarriages of justice and a proportionality check to prevent it being used for minor offences.
The report calls on the European Commission to table proposals for reform within the next year. One key demand is for the introduction of an explicit clause that would empower EU member states to refuse extradition requests if there are substantial grounds to believe that the human rights of the accused person would be breached. This would help to avoid the repeat of notorious cases such as that of Andrew Symeou, who was detained in poor conditions in a Greek prison for almost a year after being wrongfully accused of manslaughter.
In addition, it calls for a proportionality check that would look at the trial-readiness of the case, the seriousness of the offence and whether a less intrusive measure is available. This is to prevent the Euro-warrant being issued for petty crimes, which in the past have included cases such as the theft of two tyres and the stealing of piglets.
Commenting, Sarah Ludford said:
“Given that my report received explicit backing from Conservative MEPs, I hope that Tory backbenchers now close ranks and support reform of the European Arrest Warrant rather than insisting that the UK abandons it altogether. Continue reading
British Liberal Democrat European justice and human rights spokeswoman Sarah Ludford is introducing her report on reform of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) tomorrow, Wednesday 27th November, in the European Parliament Civil Liberties, Justice & Home Affairs committee. She has long been involved in criminal justice measures and has taken a particular interest in the EAW.
“The European Arrest Warrant is a crucial crime-fighting tool, essential for police efforts to keep the public safe. It delivers speedy surrender compared to previous long and cumbersome extradition procedures and ensures that criminals cannot flee from justice by crossing borders. London bomber Hussain Osman and school teacher Jeremy Forest are among those who have been brought to justice thanks to the EAW.
The House of Commons Justice Committee and House of Lords EU Committee have both published reports today on the UK’s decision over which EU policing and criminal justice measures to stay a participant in.
The Justice Committee broadly supports the coalition government’s intentions while the House of Lords EU Committee goes further in arguing that the UK should seek to rejoin several additional measures on grounds of coherence.
Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP, Liberal Democrat European Spokesperson on Justice and Home Affairs, commented:
“Parliamentarians in both Houses have rightly concluded that EU police and judicial cooperation is clearly in the national interest. Continue reading