Asymmetrical Europe (Germany and European Law Enforcement)

Posted by John Rosenthal

Last week, as a complementary measure to the so-called European arrest warrant, which is meant to facilitate extraditions among European countries for certain categories of crime, European justice ministers agreed to the creation of a European “evidence warrant”. According to the agreement, all EU states will be required to comply with requests from their EU partners for evidence related to the same categories of crime – except Germany.

In a concession to German reservations, German authorities will retain the right to comply or not in relation to six of the 32 categories. Already last July, the German Constitutional Court ruled the law implementing the EU “arrest warrant” in Germany to be unconstitutional, thus effectively relieving German authorities of the obligation of complying with extradition requests under the “arrest warrant” agreement.

The following from the 2 June edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:

The European evidence warrant rests on the same principle of reciprocal recognition as the European arrest warrant…. In both cases, the warrants issued by the judicial authorities of a member state must be executed by another state. This is also the reason for the German reservation. In its ruling on the European arrest warrant, the Constitutional Court objected that the 32 categories of crime were not defined precisely enough or did not correspond to any categories in German law.

The compromise agreement put forward by the Austrian EU Presidency allows judicial authorities in Germany to decide whether a warrant is to be executed in the case of 6 of the 32 crimes for which the issuance of a European evidence warrant would be possible. This provision is applicable for cases of Terrorism, Sabotage, Racism, Xenophobia, Computer-Related Crime, and Extortion.

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