A Spanish judge has not yet issued a European arrest warrant for ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and will most likely do so later on Friday, a senior court source has said.
Puigdemont’s Belgian lawyer had previously said the warrant had already been issued. The reason for the differing accounts was not immediately clear.
In place since 2004, the European arrest warrant system makes it easier for EU countries to demand the extradition from other EU states of people wanted for crimes.
EU nations issue thousands of the warrants each year.
Euronews asked Spanish Supreme Court Prosecutor Salvador Viada how it works.
“We know, accept and consider as our own the actions of the courts of other European Union countries and they do the same with ours,” he said.
“So when a judge issues an arrest warrant against a person in the EU, this mechanism is put in place – and in a short period established by the European norm. sixty days extendable by another month. I think the matter should be settled in that time.”
The former Catalan premier said he would only return to Spain if he received “guarantees of a fair trial” https://t.co/V6IRXlD3mH— El País in English (@elpaisinenglish) 2 novembre 2017
But obstacles can arise. Belgium follows a set of procedural steps for extradition under the European arrest warrant but it can be blocked, for instance, on human rights grounds.
And the definition of rebellion, one of the charges facing Puigdemont, is not the same in all EU countries.
Viada explained that while some accusations are straightforward, there are other elements that do not appear in the set of crimes automatically covered by extradition.
“Comparisons must be made with Belgian national law to assess whether ….the crime being alleged in Spain also exists in Belgium in some way,” he said.
“In terms of implementation, it works. The system works because there is confidence that countries respect the rule of law.”