Next April, Britain is expected to sign up to the next stage of the European Arrest Warrant (there’s always a next stage with any aspect of European integration). This is called Schengen Information II. It will ensure that anyone against whom a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) is issued will be detained and deported automatically.
They will be taken to whichever country issued the Arrest Warrant. It may be France or Germany. It may be Romania or Bulgaria or Lithuania. If EU enlargement goes ahead, it may be Croatia or Turkey (think Midnight Express — the nightmare 1978 film in which an American student falls victim to the Turkish penal system). In many of these jurisdictions, the legal system is, to say the least, suspect. I have done some work in Croatia, and I would not expect a foreign accused to get a fair trial there. There may be no habeas corpus, so a British citizen may be detained indefinitely awaiting trial. There may not even be English translation of court proceedings.
The Arrest Warrant (we should be careful not to call it extradition, which unlike the Arrest Warrant is subject to due process in the UK) can apply to relatively trivial offences, like traffic violations or (in one case, apparently) stealing a chicken, subsequently returned.
The EAW caused considerable disquiet when it was first introduced, but we were assured that it was necessary to deal with terrorist suspects and international criminal gangs. No one mentioned traffic violations.
The first duty of the state is to protect its citizens, and in Britain the citizen is entitled to due process, to a fair trial (in English), and to habeas corpus. This new development strikes a massive blow against these basic rights of the British people. It is estimated that under the new system the number sent abroad subject to an EAW may increase from the current 500 or so a year to perhaps 1500.
Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve has quite rightly attacked the extension of the EAW. I would like the Party to go further, and to include in our General Election Manifesto a clear commitment to withdraw our country from the whole EAW process. British people are entitled to British justice.
Does this comply with the British constitution? I know many EU processes (and indeed newer British ones, such as forcing speeding offenders to self-incriminate) are not in accord with our constitution, and the courts utterly fail in their duty, but at least if a case can delay EAW cases until next year the Conservatives could make a great deal out of this and then withdraw from the agreement.
There are some very worrying cases associated with the EAW. The basic flaw is the withdrawal of the examination of Prima Facie evidence by the extraditing judge, so anyone can be extradited to an EU state, almost at the whim of a local magistrate. There are some very worrying aspects in the recent case of Andrew Symeou who is now sitting in a disgusting Greek jail, and might be there for 18 months without trial. This case alone should make us very concerned about the EAW process.
2. Few people seem to understand the huge basic difference between the common law of England and the civil law of most EU states. In simple terms, under common law the individual has most of the rights. Under civil law the state has most of the rights and some EU states abuse those rights in a very worrying way.
I agree. I am not an expert on constitutional law, but I assume that rendering British citizens up to jurisdictions where basic British freedoms and rights (like habeas corpus) do not apply must be contrary to our constitution. But when challenged, the courts tend to say “But this accords with a democratic decision by parliament to cede powers to the EU, and therefore EU law takes precedence”.
As Lord West says “The principle behind the EAW is one of “mutual recognition”. … Key to this principle is a mutual trust by member states in each other’s legal system, whether that be a common law or civil law system.”
How can you have mutual trust in systems that are radically different from ours, in which prisoners are treated so badly that even the European Commission is getting concerned? (Yes, it really is getting that bad)
But the individual is no longer of any importance to this horror of a government that gives our rights away as if it owns them. The individual is now sacrificed for the “greater good”.
Quite right Roger.
We need to remove ourselves from this sinister aspect of the EU asap.
But the EU won’t stop. The only long term safe place for our liberties is being outside the EU altogether.
All talk of the British Constitution is now defunct as it is in the process of being DISMANTLED as we speak. The new Supreme Court will operate on Corpus Juris and report directly to the EU.
We are now faced with a DICTATORSHIP on this continent unless the British people rebel in the immediate future and throw this government out of power.
It is time for revolution in this country.
John Morton said “The new Supreme Court will operate on Corpus Juris and report directly to the EU.” This is important
I have a letter from the Home Office, Admiral the Lord West, that states: “I can also assure xxxx that there is no intention of us moving away from the common law to an EU civil code.”. I hope we can hold this Westminster government to that promise as it is not just some sort of legal nicety, but is the basis of the way we live in Britain.
As Baroness Helena Kennedy says, in her book Just Law 2005.(I recommend this)
“The first mistake is a failure to see that law is cultural. It does not come out of nowhere and law’s genesis explains the way in which checks and balances develop and the ways in which consent is secured. Consent is essential to effective legal systems.
Unlike the rest of Europe, which has what is called the ‘civil law’ [or Corpus Juris] system with codified laws and a career judiciary, we have a common law system.“
I think you are missing the point. The European Union is a dictatorship. If it consolidates power, we are going to have to FIGHT our way out of it.
We have only a few months to wake this country up, before Lisbon goes into effect, and they start rounding us all up under the EWS, or it is game over, and I mean that literally.
We have specific intelligence that the UK police are arming themselves with 77,000 Heckler & Koch small arms. What do they need those weapons for, if not as a paramilitary force to ENFORCE the new police state that is coming if we don’t stop it NOW?
John, I understand what you are saying, but I prefer to try and work through the system, however naive that approach might be. I’ve lost too many friends through wars so see war as the very last last resort. God preserve us from that option as long as possible.
PS. The police are arming themselves with a lot more than just the small arms, as they should if they are told to expect rising levels of discontent, and, yes, it should worry us.
Sorry to be tacky, but as Aragorn said to King Theoden in the Lord of the Rings “Open war is upon you whether you would risk it or not.”
There is no more time for debate, we are now in a war for survival of the British people.
This is very worrysome folks.! I personally as a Welshborn British Citizen am extremely concrned about the rapid expedition of the government and Parliament’s sell out of our culture and rights to foreign Countries.I am not well educated but even I can understand that what will eventuate will be the complete dedstruction of everything we hold important and our very heritage of our great society and it’s unimitable history. THeir is something very distasteful about being just another European.! I prefer the title British or Welsh.! Having lived in Ameica for many years, that is what I miss about there most prehaps…..is the US will never surrender their precious and cherished indendence and National pride and amazing history which has no equal.! They fought hard to preserve their culture, their rights and their liberties and so should the British people.!
When I read this I get scared to death.
As this law was introduced in Sweden – if you raised such issues as above absolutely noone listened. It was not even allowed to speak of it. Media was completely silent about all these laws. And our members of parliament didn’t even get to read properly translated copies of the laws and proposals they were to rush through parliament and turn into legislation.
Watch this and weep:
This is very worrying I am one of the parents of children that have been falsely accused of a crime in Malia in 2007 and finding the Greek authorities still wishing to pursue them some nearly 3 years later. There is no evidence and our children were not even in the vicinity at the time the “crime” if there actually was one, was committed. We have found it impossible to get help or information from anyone. The language barrier makes it impossible to communicate with anyone in Greece. We have contacted numerous agencies in Britain including our MP, but no one seems to care. I believe there are many other families going through this as well. Currently our children, who are now all 20 and at university, have been called to attend a trial in Malia in March. They will not be attending. They spent 3 days in a Greek cell in 2007 in the most heinous conditions imaginable. Myself and the other families involved do not know where to turn for help next, we know that Britain does not look after its own and feel very abandoned by the powers that “should” be.
Jackie Burns, I recommend that you keep the pressure on your MP, and maybe also write to Lord West. This government does eventually collapse when enough pressure is applied, although it normally takes a media campaign to get it to shift.
Does anyone know how many people have been affected by the EAW that was only supposed to be used for ‘terrorists’?
There is a protest outside the Greek embassy tomorrow, saturday, for Andrew Symeou. It wont achieve much but it does add to the pressure on this hideous EAW.
Pingback: EU och Nyliberalismen – En Gangsterekonomi Satt i System « Nemokrati