The Netherlands will extradite no-one to Poland under European Arrest Warrant
The Regional Court in Amsterdam has already submitted a second enquiry to the Court of Justice of the EU regarding the performance of a European Arrest Warrant to Poland. Until the receipt of an answer from the CJEU, no person suspected or convicted of a crime by a court in Poland will be extradited from the Netherlands.
The International Chamber of Legal Aid of the Regional Court in Amsterdam decided to suspend the extradition of suspects to stand trial in Poland and convicts for the execution of their sentences in Poland in all cases regarding a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) at the request of Polish courts.
This applies to both citizens of Poland and of other EU countries (in practice, most cases will apply to Polish citizens).
The Regional Court in Amsterdam is the only one in the Netherlands that considers EAW cases.
It submitted a second preliminary reference question to the CJEU on 3 August 2020 because of doubts regarding the performance of an EAW to Poland.
It asked the CJEU whether it could perform an EAW to Poland, if Poland already lacked systemic guarantees of independence of the judiciary at the time that the Polish court issued the request to extradite a person to execute a sentence of imprisonment.
The performance of the EAW in all pending and future proceedings at the request of Polish courts has been suspended until the CJEU responds to both questions.
This is a breakthrough decision within the European Union.
This is the first time that a court in an EU Member State has decided that the suspension of the performance of an EAW to Poland would be of a systemic nature.
The courts in the Netherlands, Germany, Slovakia, Spain, and Ireland have so far been deciding to suspend the performance of a European Arrest Warrant case by case.
The first question to the Court of Justice of the EU
The International Chamber of Legal Aid of the Regional Court in Amsterdam suspended the extradition to Poland of a Polish citizen accused of smuggling narcotics from the Netherlands to Poland on 31 July 2020.
It asked the Court of Justice of the European Union whether suspects could be extradited to stand trial in Poland under a European Arrest Warrant because of doubts as to the independence of the courts in Poland.
The Dutch court cited political pressure on the ordinary courts in Poland since 2017, including the interference of the Minister of Justice in the appointment and dismissal of presidents and vice-presidents of the courts, as well as the tightening of the model of disciplinary liability for judges, as the reason for its doubts.
According to the Regional Court in Amsterdam, the changes that have taken place in the judiciary in Poland mean that it can no longer be considered independent of the executive and legislative authorities.
Translated by Roman Wojtasz
The article was published in Polish at OKO.press