Will Assange Decision Open Doors for Extradition Challenges?
Julian Assange has failed in his appeal against extradition to Sweden where he faces questioning for alleged non-consensual sex. In its ruling, the High Court effectively offers a new exception to the general principle of mutual recognition on which the European Arrest Warrant is based. Pete Weatherby of GCN was interviewed for Lexis Nexis Current Awareness (published 21/11/11) about the ruling and its implications.
Extracts from the article as follows:
As Pete Weatherby explains: âThe High Court held that the term âjudicial authorityâ does cover prosecutors in some member states. This is correct as a matter of fact, and as the Extradition Act 2003 borrows the term directly from the Framework Direction it is plain that Parliament intended that the same definition is meant to pertain to domestic law. The key point is that the requesting authority is not acting as part of the legislative or executive branches of the State. Although prosecutors are not usually âjudicialâ officers and are sometimes properly to be considered part of the executive, their necessary independence puts them in a different position.â
âIt is rather unclear how far this judgment actually opens the door to more challenges to extradition. At  the Court refers to maintaining public confidence in the system of mutual recognition of judicial decisions by requiring the extradition courts to scrutinise the request with an intensity determined by the circumstances of the case, and at  the Court suggests that decisions of prosecutors rather than judges will attract more anxious scrutiny.
âThe latter is clear, but how can the executing State apply greater scrutiny to some cases rather than others unless there is some properly grounded abuse point?â He says the EAW system does not allow the executing court to go behind the judicial decision of the requesting State. âThis,â adds Weatherby, âis the real problem and one which Sir Scott Baker did not seem to question in his recent review of extradition provisions, so it is unlikely to change any time soon.
> The full article can be found on under Current Awareness on the Lexis Nexis network (subscription only) ref: LNB News 21/11/2011 51 "Will Assange Decision Open Doors for Extradition Challenges?". Click here to sign in if you have an account.