Article 6 - Right to liberty and security
Article 47 - Right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial
Key facts of the case:
Request for a preliminary ruling from Spetsializiran nakazatelen sad.
Reference for a preliminary ruling – Judicial cooperation in criminal matters – Directive 2012/13/EU – Articles 4 to 7 – Letters of Rights set out in Annexes I and II – Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA – Right to information in criminal proceedings – Letter of Rights on arrest – Right to be informed of the accusation – Right of access to the materials of the case – Person arrested on the basis of a European arrest warrant in the executing Member State.
Outcome of the case:
On those grounds, the Court (Fifth Chamber) hereby rules:
1) This request for a preliminary ruling concerns (i) the interpretation of Articles 6 and 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (‘the Charter’), Article 4, Article 6(2) and Article 7(1) of Directive 2012/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2012 on the right to information in criminal proceedings (OJ 2012 L 142, p. 1), Article 1(3) and Article 8 of Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA of 13 June 2002 on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States (OJ 2002 L 190, p. 1), as amended by Council Framework Decision 2009/299/JHA of 26 February 2009 (OJ 2009 L 81, p. 24) (‘Framework Decision 2002/584’), and the form set out in the annex thereto, and (ii) the validity of that framework decision.
31) In the fourth place, should it be considered that it is possible for the court issuing a European arrest warrant either to complete the text of that warrant by adding information relating to the rights of the arrested person, or to inform the arrested person of his or her rights after his or her arrest, without however being under an obligation to do so, the referring court then questions the validity of Framework Decision 2002/584, which, in its view, does not guarantee the genuine exercise of the rights which the arrested person should enjoy under Directive 2012/13 and Articles 6 and 47 of the Charter.
32) In those circumstances, the Spetsializiran nakazatelen sad (Specialised Criminal Court, Bulgaria) decided to stay the proceedings and to refer the following questions to the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling:
64) By its third and fourth questions, which it is appropriate to examine together, the referring court asks, in essence, the Court to rule on the validity of Framework Decision 2002/584 in the light of Directive 2012/13 and Articles 6 and 47 of the Charter, given that that framework decision provides that the information communicated to persons arrested for the purposes of the execution of a European arrest warrant is to be limited to the information referred to in Article 8(1) of that framework decision and included in the form set out in the annex to that decision and in the model in Annex II to that directive.
67) By contrast, it is appropriate to examine the validity of that framework decision in the light of Articles 6 and 47 of the Charter.
71) The European arrest warrant system introduced by that framework decision is based on the principle of mutual recognition, which is itself founded on the mutual confidence between the Member States that their national legal systems are capable of providing equivalent and effective protection of the fundamental rights recognised at EU level, particularly in the Charter (judgments of 10 November 2016, Özçelik, C‑453/16 PPU, EU:C:2016:860, paragraph 23 and the case-law cited, and of 9 October 2019, NJ (Public Prosecutor’s Office, Vienna), C‑489/19 PPU, EU:C:2019:849, paragraph 27).
74) Since the issuing of a European arrest warrant is capable of impinging on the right to liberty of the person concerned, enshrined in Article 6 of the Charter, that protection means that a decision meeting the requirements inherent in effective judicial protection should be adopted, at least, at one of the two levels of that protection (judgments of 27 May 2019, OG and PI (Public Prosecutor’s Offices, Lübeck and Zwickau), C‑508/18 and C‑82/19 PPU, EU:C:2019:456, paragraph 68, and of 12 December 2019, Parquet général du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg and Openbaar Ministerie (Public Prosecutors of Lyons and Tours), C‑566/19 PPU and C‑626/19 PPU, EU:C:2019:1077, paragraph 60).
81) It follows from the foregoing considerations that the examination of the third and fourth questions has revealed nothing that is capable of affecting the validity of Framework Decision 2002/584 in the light of Articles 6 and 47 of the Charter.