Implementation of the European Arrest Warrant in the European Union: law, policy and practice
The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) is the first and most important measure in the field of European criminal law for the purpose of implementation of the principle of mutual recognition of judicial decisions. The Framework Decision which introduced it was adopted on 13 June 2002 following point 35 of the Conclusions of the Tampere European Council of 15-16 October 1999 (aiming at abolishing the formal extradition procedure among the Member States of the European Union). The Warrant is a judicial decision issued by a Member State, which requires the arrest and surrender of a person by another Member State, for the purposes of conducting a criminal prosecution or executing a custodial sentence or detention order. It is issued when the person whose return is sought is accused of an offence for which the law establishes a maximum of at least one year in prison, or when the person has already been sentenced to a prison term of at least four months. The research aims at exploring the context in which the EAW was adopted, as part of the mutual recognition agenda. This will be done through an analysis of the substantive and procedural legal aspects of its implementation. Is mutual recognition correctly implemented? While some authors hail it as a giant leap towards a new system of inter-state judicial cooperation, others view it as a danger for the traditional principles of criminal law as developed in Europe in the last centuries. The thesis will look at the functioning of the EAW in the EU criminal law area and at its implications for national sovereignty as well as individual rights, with particular reference to the radical modification of the principles of classical extradition law. An evaluation of its effectiveness and its real importance will be carried out from both an international and a European law point of view.