Court of Justice of the EU: Execution of European arrest warrants – deferred if there are risks of inhuman or degrading treatment in detention

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The execution of an European arrest warrant issued by a EU Member State could be deferred is there are real risks of inhuman or degrading treatments due to the detention conditions in that state, the Court of Justice of the EU ruled on Tuesday in the cases of a Romanian and a Hungarian.

In the judgment (on Tuesday – our note), the Court states that the absolute prohibition on inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is part of the fundamental rights protected by EU law. Accordingly, where the authority responsible for the execution of a warrant has in its possession evidence of a real risk of inhuman or degrading treatment of persons detained in the Member State where the warrant was issued, that authority must assess that risk before deciding on the surrender of the individual concerned.

“The Hanseatisches Oberlandesgericht in Bremen (Higher Regional Court of Bremen, Germany), which has to decide whether those warrants should be executed, found that the detention conditions to which Mr Aranyosi and Mr Căldăraru might be subject in the Hungarian and Romanian prisons respectively were contrary to fundamental rights, in particular the provision of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union prohibiting inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In judgments of 10 June 2014 and 10 March 2015 the European Court of Human Rights held that Romania and Hungary had infringed fundamental rights due to the prison overcrowding which is characteristic of their prisons,” the judgement reads.

The judgement refers to the Cases C -404/15 and C-659/15 PPU of Pál Aranyosi and Robert Căldăraru.

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