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Agreement on the surrender procedure between the EU Member States, Iceland and Norway

The intention behind this Agreement between the Member States, Iceland and Norway is to speed up the transfer of suspects and persons in custody, via a surrender system, and to ensure sufficient controls on the execution of arrest warrants.

ACT

Council Decision 2006/697/EC of 27 June 2006 on the signing of the Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Iceland and the Kingdom of Norway on the surrender procedure between the Member States of the European Union and Iceland and Norway.

SUMMARY

The object of this Agreement is to improve judicial cooperation in criminal matters between the Member States of the European Union (EU), Iceland and Norway. More specifically, it aims to institute a surrender system to speed up the transfer of suspects and persons in custody and to ensure sufficient controls on the execution of arrest warrants.

The Parties to this Agreement undertake to respect fundamental rights, to protect personal data and to refuse to surrender any person suspected on the basis of discriminatory reasons. They also express their mutual confidence in their legal systems and their ability to guarantee a fair trial.

Scope

The arrest warrant may be issued either for acts punishable by a custodial sentence or detention order of at least 12 months or, where a sentence has been passed or a detention order made, for a sentence of at least 4 months.

For offences punishable by a custodial sentence of at least three years, the Parties can make a declaration to the effect that they do not require the condition of double criminality. These include: participation in a criminal organisation, terrorism, trafficking in human beings, child pornography, illicit trafficking in human organs, narcotics, arms, explosives or nuclear material, corruption, computer-related crime, racism, crimes against the environment, rape, abduction, counterfeiting, etc. The list of offences is the same as that used by the Member States in the European Arrest Warrant.

Grounds for non-execution of the arrest warrant

The judicial authorities will refuse to execute an arrest warrant if the offence on which it is based is covered by an amnesty, if the person has already been tried for the same acts and the sentence has been or is being served, or if the person cannot be held criminally responsible owing to his age.

On the other hand, the States are free to refuse to execute an arrest warrant if:

  • the acts on which the warrant is based do not constitute an offence in the executing State (except in relation to taxes, duties, customs and exchange);
  • the person is being prosecuted in the executing State for the same act;
  • the State has passed a final judgement in respect of the same acts, which prevents further proceedings;
  • the authorities in the executing State have decided not to prosecute the person or have halted proceedings
  • the criminal prosecution or punishment of the requested person is statute-barred in the executing State;
  • the requested person is a national or resident of the executing State and that State undertakes to execute the sentence;
  • the offences were committed outside the territory of the issuing State or the law of the executing State does not permit prosecution for those offences.

The General Secretariat of the Council must be notified of the grounds for non-execution that are mandatory in a Member State, and will forward this information to the Commission and the Member States.

Arrest warrant

The arrest warrant contains details of the identity of the requested person, the issuing authority, the sentence and the nature of the offence. It is transmitted as soon as the requested person is found, and communicated to the Schengen Information System (SIS) or, if this is not possible, to Interpol.

If the person consents to his surrender, the final decision on the execution of the arrest warrant should be taken within ten days; otherwise it should be taken within sixty days of the arrest. If this is not possible, the issuing authorities must be informed of the reason for the delay and the time limit may be extended by thirty days.

Surrender procedure

When the person is arrested, he must be informed of the arrest warrant and its contents, the possibility of consenting to surrender to the issuing authority, and his right to be assisted by legal counsel and an interpreter. He may remain in detention or be released provisionally (provided that measures are taken to prevent him absconding).

The hearing is conducted according to the law of the executing State and in conditions fixed by common agreement. The person can choose whether or not to consent to his surrender, if this choice is expressed voluntarily and in full awareness of the consequences.

The person should be surrendered within ten days of the decision to execute the warrant or, if that is impossible, within ten days of the surrender date agreed between the authorities. If he is still in custody at the end of that time, he must be released.

The executing authority will seize and hand over property that may serve as evidence or that has been acquired by the person as a result of the offence.

Surrender of the requested person

The Contracting Parties will permit the transit through their territory of a person being surrendered, provided that they have been given information on the identity of the person, the existence of the arrest warrant, the nature of the offence and a description of the circumstances.

A person who has been surrendered to the issuing State may be surrendered to a State other than the executing State for an offence committed prior to the surrender if that person has not, although he could have done so, left the territory of the State to which he was surrendered within 45 days of his release, or has returned to the territory having left it, or if he consents to be surrendered to a State other than the executing State, or if he is not subject to the specialty rule.

Particular cases

Execution may not be refused on the grounds that the offence is a political one. This general rule may, however, be limited to the crimes covered by the Framework Decision on combating terrorism and by Articles 1 and 2 of the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism.

The execution of the arrest warrant may be subject to certain conditions, where the sentence was rendered in absentia and a new trial has been ordered or the sentence is for life imprisonment (subject to the guarantee of a review or measures of clemency being applied) or where the person is a national or resident of the executing State.

The Parties may consent to the prosecution, sentencing or detention of a person, before his surrender, for an offence other than that for which the arrest warrant was issued. If the person has already been surrendered, however, he cannot be prosecuted for a prior offence except in certain specific cases.

General and final provisions

All expenses are borne by the issuing State, except those incurred in the territory of the executing State in connection with the execution of an arrest warrant.

Any disputes with regard to the interpretation and application of this Agreement should be referred to a meeting of representatives of the governments of the Contracting Parties and should be settled within six months.

The Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union will make public any notification or declaration made concerning this Agreement, of which he is the depository.

The Parties will keep under review the development of the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Communities and of the case law of the competent courts of Iceland and Norway, and will carry out a review of the Agreement no later than five years after it comes into force.

This Agreement will come into force three months after the Secretary-General of the Council has established that all the requirements concerning the expression of the consent of the Contracting Parties to be bound by this Agreement have been fulfilled. Entry into force depends on completion of the relevant constitutional procedures in the individual Member States, in accordance with Article 24(5) of the Treaty establishing the European Union (FR).

REFERENCES

Act Entry into force - Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Council Decision 2006/697/EC 27.6.2006 - OJ L 292 of 21.10.2006
Last updated: 20.03.2008
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