On May 21, experts from the EU states who have arrived to assess the practical enforcement of the European Detention Decision (EDD) in Latvia visited the Supreme Court.

A European Detention Decision is an adjudication of a judicial authority of a European Union member state that has been taken in order for another member state to extradite a person for the commencement or performance of criminal prosecution or for the execution of a custodial sentence or detention order. In the discussion with the judges of the Chamber of Criminal Cases Peteris Opincans and Ervins Kuskis the experts were told how many decisions have been adopted in the Supreme Court related to the enforcement of EDD, and what are the problems related to the application of this instrument of the international cooperation.

The assessment group consisted of 6 persons: three experts from the member states who are enforcement officials of various stages, a representative of the European Commission, a representative from Eurojust, and a representative of the General Secretariat of the Council of Europe. In Latvia, the assessment group visited institutions which deal with the practical application of EDD: the prosecutor’s office, the defense – the Latvian Bar Association,, the initiator of the proceedings – the police, as well as district courts and the Supreme Court.

In the Supreme Court, the cases connected with the extradition of criminals or suspects to the EU states are rare – not more than five cases per year. The judges noted that there are no pressing problems related to the enforcement of a European Detention Decision. The experts wished to know whether the persons detained under EDD have access to the services of lawyers and interpreters, whether a person declared guilty and not participating in the hearings has a possibility to demand a repeated hearing of the case, in what way the principle of “double risk” is ensured meaning that no person may be detained and tried twice for one and the same crime.

The European Detention Decision ensures that the convicted criminals or suspected offenders accused for a grave crime in any EU member state has no possibility to seek for hideaway in another member state while the court carries out the extradition procedure. The missing, suspected persons may be extradited to be tried in the country where the alleged crime has been committed.

The EU Council adopted the basic decision on the European Detention Decision in 2002. In the enlarged EU, it became effective in 2004 along with the accession of ten new member states, however, several countries needed additional time to introduce it in the national legislation. In Latvia, the procedure of enforcement of EDD is stipulated in the Criminal Procedure Law which became effective in October 2005.


Information prepared by

Head of the Division of Communications of the Supreme Court Rasma Zvejniece

E-mail: rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv, telephone: 7020396, 28652211