The European Arrest Warrant is a simplified cross-border judicial procedure for the transfer of persons for the purpose of prosecuting or enforcing a custodial sentence or detention order. An order issued by a judicial authority in one EU country is valid throughout the Community.
Every year, Lithuania issues about 250 European arrest warrants. The surrender takes between two and two months, depending on whether the person subject to the European Arrest Warrant agrees to be surrendered. Across the European Union, the average for these procedures is almost 17 and 56 days respectively.
The implementation of the European Arrest Warrant is one aspect of Lithuania’s reports, which was welcomed last week by the EU Working Party on Cooperation in Criminal Matters. This report assessed the implementation of the EU legislation on co-operation in criminal matters in Lithuania: the implementation of the European Arrest Warrant, the recognition of sentences of deprivation of liberty, as well as the recognition of probation measures and alternatives to pre-trial detention.
The team of international experts who performed the assessment visited Vilnius last autumn. During meetings with various competent institutions – the Ministry of Justice, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau, the Public Security Service, the National Courts Administration, the Prison Department, the Lithuanian Probation Service and others, as well as representatives of the courts. implementation aspects. In addition, the experts had the opportunity to get acquainted with the work of the correctional facility in Vilnius at home.
In the opinion of the evaluators, all EU legal acts regulating co-operation in criminal matters are properly implemented, and the Lithuanian authorities are proactive in applying these legal acts and resolving problems arising in practice.
“It is gratifying that Lithuania’s report is very positive. The recommendations made are generally of a more technical nature than the main shortcomings or irregularities in the application of the decisions.
Lithuania is also raising issues related to the implementation of the European Arrest Warrant in the European Union in order to achieve a consistent and progressive practice of the European Arrest Warrant in all countries participating in this mechanism, ”said Gabija Grigaitė-Daugirdė, Deputy Minister of Justice.
The experts identified and addressed to Lithuania five technical recommendations to ensure even smoother cooperation: to improve the collection of statistics, to evaluate possible documents on the recognition of convictions not only in Lithuanian but also in English, to introduce persons to the possibilities of applying the Probation Framework Decision in a more active, simple and understandable language , to organize trainings for practitioners.
Lithuania will have to inform the Council of the European Union about the implementation of the report’s recommendations in 18 months.