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Lithuania / Supreme Court / 2K-7-2-699/2016

H. D., E. A., R. Z., A. G.

Policy area:
Justice, freedom and security
Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding Body:
Supreme Court of Lithuania
Decision date:

Key facts of the case: 

H. D., E. A., R. Z., A. G. were convicted of various serious crimes, including participation in criminal association, murders, extortion of property, etc. Both, the prosecutor and the convicts, appealed against the sentence of the Klaipeda district court (Klaipėdos apygardos teismas). The Court of Appeal of Lithuania (Lietuvos apeliacinis teismas) changed some parts of the sentence, but again both the parties submitted cassation appeals to the Supreme Court of Lithuania (Lietuvos Aukščiausiasis Teismas). One of the convicts (H. D.) has asked the Court to refer to the Court of Justice of the European Union for a preliminary ruling with a question if the guarantees set forth in the Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA of 13 June 2002 on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States (in particular, concerning a possibility to review the imposition of the custodial life sentence to an extradited person), in case they lack efficient application, can influence the issue examined by a national court, given the imposition of a final sentence as the realisation of this guarantee. 

Outcome of the case:

The Supreme Court rejected the cassation complaints of both sides and concluded that the guarantee to review custodial life sentence in Lithuania is real and efficient (after 20 years of imprisonment the sentence may be reviewed by the Pardon Commission). Therefore, the question regarding the influence of the guarantee of Framework Decision for the decision of the national court on the sentence, in case this guarantee is not efficiently applied in the country, which has issued the European arrest warrant, is not important for the present case. Thus, the court rejected the request to refer to the Court of Justice of the European Union for a preliminary ruling.