The AIRE Centre has developed a specialisation in cross border criminal justice, including transfers of prisoners and those facing trial within the European Union. Our litigation has complemented our European Cross Border Justice Project, which focused on raising awareness of the human rights issues associated with the operation of the European Arrest Warrant.
E.B. v the United Kingdom (63019/10) The AIRE Centre, together with Fair Trials International, is intervening in this case in order to provide the Court with information about the theory and practice of the European Arrest Warrant. The Intervention comprised of three parts: a review of the history and structure of the EAW while highlighting the human rights issues that it raises; an examination of the relevance of Article 4(6) of the EAW FD and the ECtHR’s judgment in M.S.S. v Belgium and Greece (Grand Chamber, 2011); and the provision of relevant information on EU law on the free movement of persons.
H.S. v the United Kingdom (16477/09) The AIRE Centre represented a prisoner and his family before the Court following the refusal of the UK authorities permit the transfer the first Applicant to a Dutch prison to facilitate visits from his family whilst he served his sentence. His transfer request (under the European Transfer of Sentenced Persons Convention) had been accepted by the Dutch Government in 2006 and his co-defendants had been transferred. His family (including his two young children) are all resident (as he was) in the Netherlands and experienced serious practical and financial difficulties travelling to the UK to visit him. The Court granted priority to the case. Fair Trials International, EUROCHIPS (the NGO working for the Children of Imprisoned Parents) and Action for Prisoners’ Families submitted third party interventions to the Court. The case was communicated to the UK Government in 2009. The UK authorities agreed in July 2010 to his transfer but the Dutch courts have not yet ruled whether they will apply his UK sentence in the way which is acceptable to the UK authorities. He still remains in custody in the UK with no prospect of an early transfer. The Court nevertheless struck the case from its list as having been "resolved". The AIRE centre has sought to have it reinstated in the list.
Ignaoua and others v UK (46706/08): The AIRE centre is assisting Birnberg Peirce in representing the applicants, Tunisian Citizens, who were surrendered to Italy under a European Arrest Warrant to stand trial on charges relating to suspected terrorist related activities. Relying on Saadi v Italy, they alleged that in Italy they risked onward removal to Tunisia , irrespective of whether they were convicted or not , and that in Tunisia they would be at a real risk of torture or in human and degrading treatment . Relying on Ben Khemais v Italy and several other cases, they alleged that the Italian authorities would not respect any interim measures ordered by the European Court against Italy to prevent their expulsion to Tunisia. One of the applicants had an outstanding asylum claim in the UK at the time of his surrender. The case is pending.
Ignaoua and others v Italy (22209/09): The AIRE Centre is also assisting Birnberg Peirce in representing the same applicants as in the case of Ignaoua v UK. The applicants were acquitted of all charges at a trial following a period of pretrial detention after their surrender to Italy by the UK . On acquittal, they were promptly issued, as had been anticipated, with orders for their expulsion to Tunisia under the Pisanu law which does not provide for suspensive effect pending any review of the orders. Interim measures to prevent their actual expulsion to Tunisia have been ordered by the European Court. The case is pending.
Symeou v Greece (26093/09): The AIRE Centre, together with Fair Trials International and with the collaboration of George Pyromallis his Greek defence lawyer, is representing a young British student transferred to Greece under a European Arrest Warrant after a year of litigation in the UK courts during which he was at liberty and scrupulously observed his bail conditions. Once he arrived in Greece he was detained and refused bail because he was a foreign national and "showed no remorse for the crimes he had committed"( sic.) We are challenging the compatibility with Article 5 ECHR and the presumption of innocence of the reasons given for refusing bail. The Greek authorities failed to summon the witnesses for the trial which was scheduled to take after a year in a Greek prison. He has now been bailed pending trial which is listed for March 2011. He must remain in Greece pending trial. The case against Greece is still pending.