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The European Arrest Warrant and Fundamental Rights

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Risks of Violation of Fundamental Rights through the EU Framework Decision in Light of the ECHR

The following article is a short summary of the author’s PhD thesis (N.M. Schallmoser, Europäischer Haftbefehl und Grundrechte. Risiken der Verletzung von Grundrechten durch den EU-Rahmenbeschluss im Lichte der EMRK (Manz‘sche Verlags- und Universitätsbuchhandlung, Vienna, 2012), hereafter Schallmoser (2012)). The framework decision on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between EU member states established a new and uniform system of surrender within the EU. Nevertheless, there is no fundamental rights clause that makes it possible to refuse surrender for reasons of fundamental rights and hardly any fundamental rights guarantees of the accused person are ensured in this framework decision. This is — besides the principle of mutual recognition — the consequence of the currently practiced concept of “division of labour” in fundamental rights matters within the EU, according to which the EU legislator only has to omit, but not to prevent fundamental rights infringements through legislation, and therefore waives establishing such fundamental rights guarantees. The consequences are different risks of the accused person to become a victim of violations of fundamental rights during an internationally labour-divided criminal proceeding. A “risk” in this regard is defined as the substantial likelihood that interference in a person’s fundamental rights leads to a violation or an aggravation of a violation that has already occurred. The present article declares the European legislator as the responsible authority for minimizing such risks. This obligation can be derived from the autonomous and independent commitment of the EU to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and of course the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union as set forth in Article 6 TEU.

Affiliations: 1: Formely at the Fachbereich Öffentliches Recht, Strafrecht und Strafverfahrensrecht, Paris-Lodron-Universität Salzburg, Kapitelgasse 5, A-5020 Salzburg, Austria,


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