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 – European arrest warrant – Article 4a(1) – Surrender procedures between Member States – Conditions for execution – Grounds for optional non-execution – Exceptions – Mandatory execution – Sentence handed down in absentia – Absconding of the accused person – Directive (EU) 2016/343 – Articles 8 and 9 – Right to be present at the trial – Requirements in the event of a conviction in absentia – Verification upon surrender of the person sentenced.
Outcome of the case:
On those grounds, the Court (Fourth Chamber) hereby rules:
Article 4a 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 the executing judicial authority may not refuse to execute a European arrest warrant issued for the purpose of executing a custodial sentence or a detention order, where the person concerned has prevented the service of a summons on him in person and did not appear in person at the trial because he had absconded to the executing Member State, on the sole ground that that authority has not been given the assurance that, if the person is surrendered to the issuing Member State, the right to a new trial, as defined in Articles 8 and 9 of Directive (EU) 2016/343 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2016 on the strengthening of certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at the trial in criminal proceedings, will be respected.
42) Furthermore, the Court has held that Article 4a(1) of Framework Decision 2002/584 does not disregard either the right to an effective judicial remedy and to a fair trial or the rights of the defence guaranteed by Article 47 and Article 48(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights respectively and that it is therefore compatible with the requirements set out in those provisions (see, to that effect, judgment of 26 February 2013, Melloni, C‑399/11, EU:C:2013:107, paragraphs 53 and 54).