Article 4 - Prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Key facts of the case:
The Romanien authorities had issued a European arrest warrant for extradition of the complainant; T. T argued that the Danish authorities should refuse extradition under the arrest warrant, as the content of the warrant did not comply with requirements to describe the time and place etc. of the offence. Furthermore, T referred to a court decision of 17 February 2016 from the United Kingdom in which the court found that the British authorities could not execute a similar arrest warrant, as these requirements concerning time and place had not been met. Furthermore, T argued that if extradition could not be refused with reference to these circumstances, the Supreme Court should examine whether extradition could be refused under Section 10 h, paragraph 2 of the Danish Extradition Act (udleveringsloven) in conjunction with Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and Article 4 of the EU Charter.
The arrest warrant requiring extradition was examined under Section 10 h, paragraph 2 of the Danish Extradition Act (udleveringsloven), which states that ‘[…] extradition may not take place if there is a danger that, after the extradition, the person will be subjected to torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’.As regards European arrest warrants, references were made to Section 18 a, paragraphs 1 and 3 of the Danish Extradition Act. Paragraph 1 states: ‘In order to constitute the basis for an arrest and extradition to a Member State of the European Union, an arrest warrant must contain information on the identity and nationality of the person subject to the warrant, the time and place of the criminal offence, including its nature and the applicability of criminal law, as well as information on whether a decision has been issued on arrest or imprisonment or whether a judgment has been delivered’.
Paragraph 3 states: ‘Furthermore, a European arrest warrant issued in order to extradite a person for the purpose of enforcing a sentence shall contain information on the sentence or other legal implications’.
Finally, it was stressed that Section 10 h, paragraph 2 should be interpreted in compliance with Article 3 of the ECHR and Article 4 of the EU Charter.
Outcome of the case:
The Supreme Court found that the decision of the British court to refuse execution of the arrest warrant was not binding for the Danish authorities. For this reason, according to the Council’s Framework Decision of 13 June 2002 on the European Arrest Warrant, the Danish authorities were required to conduct an independent assessment of the requirements for extradition. Subsequently, the Supreme Court ruled that the requirements for the arrest warrant had been met, for which reason there was no basis for refusing extradition on the grounds that the warrant did not comply with formal requirements.
The Supreme Court decided to postpone its decision as regards the question of whether extradition to Romania would be contrary to Section 10 h, paragraph 2 of the Danish Extradition Act in conjunction with Article 3 of the ECHR and Article 4 of the EU Charter until the Danish Prosecution Service had obtained a renewed statement from the Romanian authorities on the detention condition T would be subjected to in Romania.
The Supreme Court’s summary of the themes of the case (EN): ‘If extradition is not to be refused on these stated grounds, it shall be considered whether extradition must be refused pursuant to Section 10 h, paragraph 2 of the Danish Extradition Act in conjunction with Article 3 of the ECHR and Article 4 of the EU Charter’.
The Supreme Court’s explanation of the legal background (EN): ‘According to Section 10 h, paragraph 2 of the Danish Extradition Act, extradition may not take place if there is a danger that, after the extradition, the person will be subjected to torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This provision should be interpreted in accordance with Article 4 of the EU Charter and Article 3 of the ECHR’.
The Supreme Court’s summary of the themes of the case (DA): ‘Hvis udlevering ikke skal nægtes med den anførte begrundelse, skal der tages stilling til, om udlevering skal nægtes i medfør af udleveringslovens § 10 h, stk. 2, sammenholdt med Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedskonventions artikel 3 og Den Europæiske Unions Charter om grundlæggende rettigheder artikel 4’.
The Supreme Court’s explanation of the legal background (DA): ‘Efter udleveringslovens § 10 h, stk. 2, må udlevering ikke finde sted, hvis der er fare for, at den pågældende efter udleveringen vil blive udsat for tortur eller anden umenneskelig eller nedværdigende behandling eller straf. Bestemmelsen skal fortolkes i overensstemmelse med EU-chartrets artikel 4 og Menneskerettighedskonventionens artikel 3’.