Ludford: European Arrest Warrant ripe for reform

Baroness Sarah Ludford MEPBritish 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.

She said:

“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.

“However, it is in need of reform to ensure that individual rights are not overridden. My report seeks to achieve such reform with EU-wide support rather than through ad hoc and uncoordinated action by various Member States. The EAW needs to be used not only effectively but also proportionality and with guarantees that safeguards are respected and human rights are not abused in the process.”

The examination by the European Parliament Civil Liberties committee of Sarah Ludford’s report on the European Arrest Warrant coincides with the expected publication by the European Commission of new proposals – on presumption of innocence, protection of children and other vulnerable suspects, and legal aid -  under the programme of measures on procedural rights in criminal law. Sarah Ludford commented:

“It’s important that the EU focuses on top priorities in the criminal justice field rather than spreading itself too thinly. I would like to see more attention given to poor detention conditions, which really are disrupting the smooth operation of the EAW.

“Care must also be taken that EU action does not go beyond what is necessary to make ‘mutual recognition’ instruments work well, since over-intrusive intervention into national criminal principles and systems could spoil the necessary balance.”

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