The European Arrest Warrant: A Threat to Human Rights? The theoretical imperfections of the EAW Framework Decision and their implications in practice
In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks the EU adopted the Framework Decision on the European Arrest Warrant in 2002 amid concerns that the previous lengthy extradition procedure was unable to efficiently tackle these serious cross-border crimes that were rising. Regularly being referred to as the ‘cornerstone’ of judicial cooperation, the EAW is the first and most successful instrument applying the internal market concept of mutual recognition to the field of criminal law. Despite its initial success as a flagship crime-fighting instrument, the EAW is considered highly controversial and has been the target of continuous criticism since its adoption. The subjects of criticism ranging from issues with the removal of the nationality exception and the abolition of double criminality, to concerns about the protection of human rights in the application of the EAW and the underlying principle of mutual trust. This thesis will provide an assessment of the European Arrest Warrant and the practical effect of the instrument on human rights, by presenting and discussing a selected few of the issues and concerns that have been raised in relation to the EAW system thus far.