As Justice and Home Affairs Ministers begin their last Council meeting tomorrow before the Laeken EU summit, Amnesty International has issued a final plea to ensure that security is not achieved at the expense of the human rights the EU seeks to safeguard.
The JHA Council meets on 6-7 December to discuss, among other issues, final proposals for framework decisions on an EU arrest warrant and on combating “terrorism”.
“Amnesty International appeals to the JHA Council to ensure that any measures adopted to guarantee security are in full compliance with international human rights law and standards, including the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, so that security is not achieved at the expense of the very rights it seeks to safeguard, and that the principles on which the Union is founded are not compromised”, the organization stressed in an “Aide Memoire” issued today.
“Amnesty International is concerned that there are still no hard and fast guarantees on a number of issues,” said Dick Oosting, Director of Amnesty International’s EU office in Brussels.
European arrest warrant and surrender procedures
As part of a detailed list of items, Amnesty International calls on EU Ministers to ensure that, among other aspects:
- EU member states are expressly prohibited from surrendering individuals to a country where they will be at risk of suffering serious human rights violations;
- The rights of the defence are guaranteed in all cases;
- Crimes under international law (such as genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture, extrajudicial executions and “disappearances”) are covered by any measure to facilitate the end of impunity, and that this is not avoided in practice by amnesties and similar measures of impunity;
- When surrender is not possible, crimes under international law should be referred for prosecution;
- The rights of recognized refugees and asylum seekers in surrender procedures, are guaranteed.
These measures should be in line with international human rights standards and ensure that what is listed as a “terrorist offence” is a recognizably criminal offence, and must not result in an infringement of, for example, the right of association, of peaceful assembly and of freedom of expression.
To view or download the “Aide Memoire: Comments by Amnesty International on the proposals for a Framework Decision on Combating Terrorism and for a Framework Decision on the European Arrest Warrant and the Surrender Procedures between the Member States” go to documents page.
For further comment/background and interviews:
Amnesty International EU Office (Brussels):
Email: [email protected]