The European Arrest Warrant

The European arrest warrant was transposed into French law by Act No. 2004-204 of 9 March 2004 adapting the justice system to developments in crime, known as the Perben II Act, which inserted articles 695-11 to 695-51 into the Code of Criminal Procedure. The Act of 9 March 2004 transposes into our law the EU Council’s framework decision of 13 June 2002 on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States.

Previously, it was necessary to amend article 88-2 of the Constitution, which states: "The law shall lay down the rules relating to the European arrest warrant in application of acts taken by the institutions of the European Union". Indeed, Constitutional Act No. 2003-267 of 25 March 2003 followed an opinion issued by the Council of State which pointed to a risk of unconstitutionality. France declared, pursuant to article 32 of the framework decision, in article 215 of the Act of 9 March 2004, that a European arrest warrant issued by a Member State could only be executed for acts committed after 1 November 1993, the date on which the Maastricht Treaty of 7 February 1992 entered into force.

Article 695-11 of the Code of Criminal Procedure defines the European arrest warrant as "a judicial decision issued by a Member State of the European Union, known as the issuing Member State, with a view to the arrest and surrender by another Member State, known as the executing Member State, of a person sought for the purposes of criminal proceedings or the execution of a custodial sentence or detention order"..

The rules on the European arrest warrant replace the extradition procedure, so that no more extradition requests have to be made between Member States that have implemented the framework decision. The European arrest warrant also replaces previous instruments such as the European Convention on Extradition of 13 December 1957, or the Convention implementing the Schengen agreement on Extradition of 19 June 1990.

The framework decision of 13 June 2002 presents the European arrest warrant as the first concrete expression of the principle of mutual recognition . The aim is to go faster and simpler by reducing the grounds for refusal, although the European arrest warrant is governed by rules largely inspired by the extradition procedure..

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