Tuesday

14th Jul 2020

Dutch refuse Polish arrest warrant over judicial fears

  • Dutch authorities are refusing Polish arrest warrant requests (Photo: banspy)

A Dutch court is refusing to send a suspect to Poland following a warrant for his arrest given Warsaw's shaky judicial system.

The Amsterdam-based court on Thursday (4 October) said the Polish national, suspected of dealing drugs, is not guaranteed a fair trial in Poland.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"The court found that recent major changes to the Polish judicial system endanger the independence of the courts in that country," it said, in a press statement.

Polish authorities had issued a European arrest warrant, a fast-track system for surrendering people from one EU country to another, demanding their Dutch counterparts to hand over the Polish national.

But the Dutch court on Thursday refused, noting that the independence of Polish judges may be compromised.

"The court continues to examine the surrender request until the Polish judicial authorities have replied to a number of questions from the court," it said.

The Dutch refusal is likely to erode mutual trust underpinning Polish police extradition requests.

The latest challenge, following one by Ireland, also puts into practice a verdict by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) over the summer that warned against carrying out European arrest warrant extraditions to Poland given "that the individual concerned would suffer a breach of his fundamental right to an independent tribunal."

Polish justice minister, Zbigniew Ziobro, at the time described the ECJ verdict as a moral victory given it did not make any brash statements of violations of the rule of law in Poland.

He also lashed out at the Irish court, which had been behind the ECJ verdict.

But the latest Dutch led announcement is a blow to the credibility of Poland's right-wing government defence of its wide-reaching judicial changes.

Poland maintains the reforms are needed to overhaul the Communist-era laws, while critics say it puts the courts under the political control of the ruling nationalist-populist Law and Justice party (PiS).

The European Commission is also challenging Polish legislation that forces dozens of Supreme Court judges into early retirement.

It is taking Poland to the European Court of Justice over the matter, noting that the law "undermines the principle of judicial independence".

Other EU states have also voiced concerns. Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain, have all questioned Poland's bid to fire supreme court judges.

Poland is facing EU-level sanctions under the so-called article 7 procedure.

In September, the European Parliament had endorsed the launch of the similar sanctions against Hungary, described by Ziobro as an attack against democracy.

Poland urged to halt 'purge' of top court

Next month Supreme Court judges could be removed in Poland - due to a controversial reform seen as a judicial purge by a government that wants to control the courts. The European Commission wants Warsaw to act now.

Opinion

Interpol, China and the EU

China joins a long list of countries - including Russia - accused of abusing Interpol's 'Red Notice' system to harras activists and dissidents.

News in Brief

  1. Croatia opens for US tourists, defying EU ban
  2. Poll: only 61% of Germans would get Covid-19 vaccine
  3. UK to spend €788m on new UK-EU border control system
  4. Berlin wants first use of EU cyber sanctions on Russia
  5. Erdogan warns neighbours over hydrocarbon reserves
  6. Bulgaria: political crisis amid anti-corruption protests
  7. Pope and Turkish-German leader join Hagia Sophia protest
  8. France and UK create joint migrant intelligence unit

EUobserver under attack in wider battle for EU free press

If EU citizens want to know the truth, then journalists need protection from malicious litigation, as EUobserver joined the list of targets, over an article about the late Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. Poland's EU-battles to continue as Duda wins tight vote
  2. EU 'in-person' summit plus key data privacy ruling This WEEK
  3. Let's have positive discrimination for EU stagiaires
  4. We need to do more for our small and medium-sized enterprises
  5. Romania's virus surge prompts queues and new worries
  6. Michel lays out compromise budget plan for summit
  7. Border pre-screening centres part of new EU migration pact
  8. EU 'failed to protect bees and pollinators', report finds

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us