Key facts of the case:
Reference for a preliminary ruling — Urgent preliminary ruling procedure — Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters — Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA — Article 26(1) — European arrest warrant — Effects of the surrender — Deduction of the period of detention served in the executing Member State — Concept of ‘detention’ — Measures involving a restriction of liberty other than imprisonment — Curfew in conjunction with the wearing of an electronic tag — Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union — Articles 6 and 49
Outcome of the case:
...the Court (Fourth Chamber) hereby rules:
Article 26(1) of Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA of 13 June 2002 on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States, as amended by Council Framework Decision 2009/299/JHA of 26 February 2009, must be interpreted as meaning that measures such as a nine-hour night-time curfew, in conjunction with the monitoring of the person concerned by means of an electronic tag, an obligation to report to a police station at fixed times on a daily basis or several times a week, and a ban on applying for foreign travel documents, are not, in principle, having regard to the type, duration, effects and manner of implementation of all those measures, so restrictive as to give rise to a deprivation of liberty comparable to that arising from imprisonment and thus to be classified as ‘detention’ within the meaning of that provision, which it is nevertheless for the referring court to ascertain.
4) In accordance with Article 6 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (‘the Charter’), which is entitled ‘Right to liberty and security’, ‘everyone has the right to liberty and security of person’.
5) Article 49 of the Charter, entitled ‘Principles of legality and proportionality of criminal offences and penalties’, provides in paragraph 3 that ‘the severity of penalties must not be disproportionate to the criminal offence’.
6) Article 52 of the Charter, entitled ‘Scope and interpretation of rights and principles’, provides, in paragraphs 3 and 7:
‘3. In so far as this Charter contains rights which correspond to rights guaranteed by the [ECHR], the meaning and scope of those rights shall be the same as those laid down by the said Convention. This provision shall not prevent Union law providing more extensive protection.
7) The explanations drawn up as a way of providing guidance in the interpretation of this Charter shall be given due regard by the courts of the Union and of the Member States.’
Framework Decision 2002/584
7 Recital 12 of Framework Decision 2002/584 states that that decision respects fundamental rights and observes the principles recognised by Article 6 EU and reflected in the Charter, in particular Chapter VI thereof.
23) Furthermore, adopting a strict interpretation of ‘detention’, thereby restricting the application of Article 26(1) of Framework Decision 2002/584 to conventional forms of deprivation of liberty, such as imprisonment or pre-trial detention, could, according to the referring court, lead to a breach of the principle of proportionality laid down in Article 49(3) of the Charter.
25) In those circumstances, the Sąd Rejonowy dla Łodzi — Śródmieścia w Łodzi (District Court for Central Łódź, Łódź) decided to stay the proceedings and to refer the following question to the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling:
‘Must Article 26(1) of [Framework Decision 2002/584], in conjunction with Article 6(1) and (3) [TEU] and Article 49(3) of the [Charter], be interpreted as meaning that the term “detention” also covers measures applied by the executing Member State consisting in the electronic monitoring of the place of residence of the person to whom the arrest warrant applies, in conjunction with a curfew?’
42) As regards, in the third place, the objective pursued by Article 26(1) of Framework Decision 2002/584, it must be stated, as the Advocate General noted, in essence, at point 60 of his Opinion, that the obligation under that article to deduct the period of detention arising from the execution of the European arrest warrant from the total period of detention which the person concerned would be required to serve in the issuing Member State is designed to meet the general objective of respecting fundamental rights, as referred to in recital 12, and recalled in Article 1(3), of Framework Decision 2002/584, by preserving the right to liberty of the person concerned, enshrined in Article 6 of the Charter, and the practical effect of the principle of proportionality in the application of penalties, as provided for in Article 49(3) of the Charter.
48) It should be noted in that regard that the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights in relation to the ‘right to liberty’ provided for in Article 5(1) of the ECHR, which corresponds to Article 6 of the Charter, supports that interpretation.
49) It will be recalled in that context that Article 52(3) of the Charter provides that, in so far as the Charter contains rights which correspond to rights guaranteed by the ECHR, the meaning and scope of those rights are to be the same as those laid down by the ECHR.
50) It is clear from the explanations relating to Article 52(3) of the Charter, which, in accordance with the third subparagraph of Article 6(1) TEU and Article 52(7) of the Charter, have to be taken into consideration for the purpose of interpreting it (see, to that effect, judgments of 26 February 2013 in Åkerberg Fransson, C‑617/10, EU:C:2013:105, paragraph 20, and of 27 May 2014 in Spasic, C‑129/14 PPU, EU:C:2014:586, paragraph 54), that Article 52(3) of the Charter is intended to ensure the necessary consistency between the rights contained in the Charter and the corresponding rights guaranteed by the ECHR, without thereby adversely affecting the autonomy of EU law and that of the Court of Justice of the European Union (see, to that effect, judgment of 15 February 2016 in N., C‑601/15 PPU, EU:C:2016:84, paragraph 47).