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Pretend that a country within the European Union (EU) has refused to extradite somebody, after an extradition request from another country, following a court ruling in the extraditee's favour.

If the, now free, defendant wishes to travel to other EU countries, can they avoid extradition based on the ruling that was in their favour against extradition? Assume the extradition was for the same purposes as the original request for extradition.

My understanding is that EU countries must respect decisions in other EU member courts, so I am guessing this would also apply to extradition.

For the purposes of this question feel free to exclude places such as Norway and Switzerland, as they have their own distinct agreements with the EU.

EDIT: The defendant has a British passport and a Republic of Ireland passport making them dual nationality, however they entered into each EU country using their Irish passport.

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    This question cannot be answered in its present form without clarifying whether the defendant is an EU (or EFTA) citizen. See CJEU Transfers Petruhhin Doctrin to EFTA Nationals - eucrim. Commented Nov 16, 2023 at 5:07
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    The EU might not extradite an Eritrean citizen to Somalia, but the same person still might not be free to move within the EU, due to their Visa or because they are held for immigration reasons.
    – Trish
    Commented Nov 16, 2023 at 6:32
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    @MarkJohnson of course it can “If citizen then x, if non-citizen then y”
    – Dale M
    Commented Nov 16, 2023 at 8:55
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    It doesn't matter which passport they used to travel into any country. The person is an EU citizen under EU law regardless.
    – phoog
    Commented Feb 12 at 8:55
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    The reason for the denial would matter.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Feb 13 at 0:41

1 Answer 1

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If the, now free, defendant wishes to travel to other EU countries, can they avoid extradition based on the ruling that was in their favour against extradition?

No. The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) framework does not require a warrant to be withdrawn by the 'requesting country' if a member state decides not to execute it. The EAW remains valid until it is withdrawn by the requesting country.

Scenario:

  1. France issues an EAW for Bob.
  2. Bob travels to Spain, is arrested and has an extradition hearing where it is decided not to execute the warrant.
  3. France does not withdraw the warrant.
  4. Bob travels to Portugal - he is not 'safe' from the warrant.

My understanding is that EU countries must respect decisions in other EU member courts, so I am guessing this would also apply to extradition.

The system has been criticised on that basis. However, on the flip side, the issuing country might want other countries to respect its decision to issue the EAW.

Reference: 2023 Handbook on how to issue and execute a European arrest warrant:

11.3. Consideration by the issuing judicial authorities whether or not to maintain the EAW

The Framework Decision on EAW does not require an EAW to be withdrawn if one Member State refuses to execute it. This is because other Member States may still be able to execute the EAW. The EAW and corresponding SIS alert therefore remain valid unless the issuing judicial authority decides to withdraw it. ...

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  • The question doesn't mention the European Arrest Warrant at all. I suspect it's about extradition to a third country. Indeed, an EU country wouldn't request an extradition in the first place and most likely use the EAW instead. Even if you want to cover both the European Arrest Warrant and extradition, the answer would be much better if you would clearly distinguish them.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Feb 12 at 22:01
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    @Relaxed The European Arrest Warrant replaced the previous extradition agreements between EU member states. Although it might be technically improper to do so, it's common to refer to use of the EAW as extradition, and someone might not know what the EU system is called. Fair point re third countries.
    – Lag
    Commented Feb 13 at 8:40
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    @Relaxed Perhaps one day the questioner will return to clarify the question. Regardless, I intend to edit when I get a moment. I have three scenarios in mind. One scenario is the use of the EAW for 'surrender' between EU members (commonly but perhaps incorrectly referred to as 'extradition') - as above. Another scenario is a third country seeking extradition of an EU national of a country that refuses to extradite its citizens not in his home nation. Another scenario is a third country seeking extradition of an EU national of a country that does not refuse to extradite its citizens.
    – Lag
    Commented Feb 14 at 9:11
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    @user5623335 EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, Article 50: "No one shall be liable to be tried or punished again in criminal proceedings for an offence for which he or she has already been finally acquitted or convicted within the Union in accordance with the law." An extradition hearing is not a criminal trial. The hearing is to decide whether to surrender/extradite the person to the requesting country for prosecution of a criminal complaint or execution of a sentence. The hearing does not acquit or convict the person.
    – Lag
    Commented Feb 20 at 9:27
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    @user5623335 The test of 'dual criminality' aka 'double criminality' is whether the conduct alleged to have occurred in the requesting country would be a crime in the surrendering country had it occurred here. The extradition court doesn't determine whether the conduct occurred, it determines whether the conduct would amount to a crime in the court's country if it had occurred.
    – Lag
    Commented Feb 27 at 12:38

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