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CJEU Caser C-398/19 / Judgment

Proceedings relating to the extradition of BY

Policy area:
Irregular migration and return
Deciding Body type:
Court of Justice of the European Union
Deciding Body:
Court (Grand Chamber)
Type:
Decision
Decision date:
17/12/2020
ECLI:
ECLI:EU:C:2020:1032

Key facts of the case:

Reference for a preliminary ruling – Citizenship of the European Union – Articles 18 and 21 TFEU – Extradition of a Union citizen to a third State – Person acquiring Union citizenship after transferring the centre of his or her interests to the Member State from which extradition is requested – Scope of EU law – Prohibition on extradition applied solely to own nationals – Restriction on freedom of movement – Justification based on the prevention of impunity – Proportionality – Information to the Member State of which the requested person is a national – Obligation on the Member State from which extradition is requested and the Member State of origin to ask the third State requesting extradition to send the criminal investigation file – No obligation.

Outcome of the case:

On those grounds, the Court (Grand Chamber) hereby rules:

  1. Articles 18 and 21 TFEU must be interpreted as being applicable to the situation of a citizen of the European Union who is a national of one Member State, who is residing in the territory of another Member State and who is the subject of an extradition request sent to the latter Member State by a third State, even where that citizen moved the centre of his or her interests to that other Member State at a time when he or she did not have Union citizenship.
  2. Articles 18 and 21 TFEU must be interpreted as meaning that, where the Member State of which the person requested for extradition is a national, that person being a Union citizen who is the subject of an extradition request sent, by a third State, to another Member State, has been informed by that other Member State of the existence of the request, neither of those Member States is obliged to ask the third State requesting extradition to send to them a copy of the criminal investigation file in order to enable the Member State of which that person is a national to assess the possibility that it might itself conduct a criminal prosecution of that person. Provided that it has duly informed the Member State of which that person is a national of the existence of the extradition request, of all the elements of fact and law communicated by the third State requesting extradition within the framework of that request, and of any changes in the situation of the requested person that might be relevant to the possibility of issuing a European arrest warrant with respect to him or her, the Member State from which extradition is requested may extradite that person without being obliged to wait for the Member State of which that person is a national to waive, by a formal decision, the issue of such an arrest warrant, concerning, at least, the same offences as those referred to in the extradition request, where the latter Member State fails to issue such an arrest warrant before the expiry of a reasonable time limit imposed on it for that purpose by the Member State from which extradition is requested, taking into consideration all the circumstances of the case.
  3. Articles 18 and 21 TFEU must be interpreted as meaning that the Member State to which a third State submits an extradition request for the purposes of a criminal prosecution of a Union citizen who is a national of another Member State is not obliged to refuse extradition and itself to conduct a criminal prosecution where its national law permits it to do so.