The validity of the European Arrest Warrant used in pursuing suspects across borders has been confirmed by the EU Court of Justice.
A Belgian association had contested it because it can be used in cases where an act is considered with a different degree of seriousness in countries involved in an extradition request — manslaughter in one, for instance, and as murder in another.
The warrant can be applied for 32 serious crimes, including terrorism, money laundering, corruption, or drug and people trafficking… on condition that conviction would carry a prison sentence lasting at least three years. For these 32 offences, the “dual criminality” principle does not apply.
Brussels said the warrant is one of the most effective tools in fighting organised crime; It was issued close to 7,000 times in 2005, leading to 1,800 arrests, a spokesman said.
In 95% of these cases, extraditions were carried out within 90 days of issue, compared to longer before the warrant entered into force in eight EU states in 2004 – and later throughout the bloc.