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Case law

CJEU, Case C-191/16, Romano Pisciotti

April 2018 - Germany

extraditions, non-nationals

The case concerns an Italian citizen who was extradited to the USA after being arrested in Germany, where he stopped over whilst in transit back to Italy. After pleading guilty and serving his sentence in the USA, he returned to Germany and sued for damages. He argued that he had received a discriminating treatment from Germany given that under the existing Germany-United States Extradition Treaty, the former does not extradite its own citizens outside the EU.

In this case the CJEU build on previous judgement of Petruhhin, which concerned the extradition of the citizens of another Member State to Russia. In that case, the CJEU ruled that extradition of the citizen of a different Member State to a non-EU country falls within the scope of EU law inasmuch as it interferes with his freedom of movement. In the present case the CJEU ruled that:

  • Provided that the request for extradition is made under EU-USA Agreement on extradition, EU law is applicable to situations where an EU citizen who has been the subject of a request for extradition to the USA has been arrested in a Member State other than the Member State of which he is a national, since he has made use of his freedom of movement right.

The referring court asked whether in this case Article 18 TFEU (prohibition of discrimination on grounds of nationality) should be interpreted as precluding the requested Member State from drawing a distinction between its nationals and the nationals of other Member States and from granting extradition of the latter whilst not permitting extradition of its own nationals. The CJEU responded in the negative. Members States are able to draw a distinction between its citizen and other EU citizens for the purpose of extraditing them to a third-State. However, before deciding to extradite, the executing State must inform the competent authorities of the Member State of which the citizen is a national so as to afford the latter the possibility of seeking the surrender of that citizen pursuant to an EAW in order to prosecute that person for offences committed outside its national territory. If the authorities of the State of which the requested person is a national fail to request the surrender of its own national pursuant to an EAW, may the executing State extradite to a non-EU country.

You can read the full judgment here.

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