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France / Court of Cassation /CR01597

Mr. I. /France

Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding Body:
Court of Cassation
Decision date:
Key facts of the case:
Mr I. was the subject of a European arrest warrant issued on 18 October 2019 by the Swedish courts, with a view to the serving of a three-year prison sentence for the crime of serious fraud and obstruction of a tax audit, ordered by a court ruling in Stockholm on 30 January 2018. Mr I. did not consent to his rendition. In a decision of 26 February 2020, the investigating chamber ordered further information on the appeals brought by the accused against the aforementioned ruling. The Swedish authorities replied that Mr I. had appealed against the conviction but had not appeared at the pre-hearing meeting at which his appeal was to be examined, although he had been summoned in person, and had made no excuses. As a result, his appeal had been declared null and void by the Court of Appeal. The authorities also pointed out that the Court of Appeal had refused to reconsider his appeal when the matter was brought before it again, and that this decision had been upheld by the Supreme Court. The investigating chamber of the Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal authorised the handing over of Mr I. to the Swedish judicial authorities in pursuance of a European arrest warrant on 18 March 2020. Mr I. has appealed this decision.
Key legal question raised by the Court:
Is the right to appeal part of the principal rules of due process? What are the grounds on which the enforcement of a European Arrest Warrant is not compulsory?
Outcome of the case:
The Court of Cassation ruled that the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union does not provide for the right to appeal to be included in the principal rules of due process and dismissed the appeal. Only the failure to appear in person at the trial at which a final decision was taken, after an examination of the merits of the case in terms of substance and law, on the charge of which the accused was convicted and on the custodial sentence imposed, is, subject to certain conditions, grounds for the non-compliance with the compulsory enforcement of the arrest warrant. In this case, Mr I. appeared in person at the hearing when the sentence which the arrest warrant was issued for was handed down. Therefore, the principle of mutual recognition of decisions in criminal matters by the Member States had been observed.