MPs: European Arrest Warrant needs reform


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The Independent Online

The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) is “fundamentally flawed” and the Government needs to go further with its reforms of the system, a group of influential MPs has warned.

The EAW, introduced in 2004, allows a national judicial authority, such as a court, to get a suspect extradited between European Union member states.

The fast-track arrest warrant is among 35 EU criminal justice measures the Government wants to retain – but the Home Secretary Theresa May has promised to change British law to prevent it being used to extradite UK nationals on trivial or dubious charges.

However, the Home Affairs Select Committee has said it is concerned the reforms do not go far enough and has called for an urgent vote in the House of Commons on continued UK membership of the EAW.

The committee’s chair, Keith Vaz, said: “The EAW, in its existing form, is fundamentally flawed and has led to a number of miscarriages of justice with devastating consequences for those concerned.

“We welcome the Government’s proposed reforms, but are concerned that they do not go far enough.”

In its report, the committee said some countries use the EAW simply to expedite their investigations, whereas others do so in pursuit of relatively minor crimes.

It added that for these reasons the UK receives disproportionately more warrants than it issues.