extradition to Belgium

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Extradition requests from Belgium are statistically not uncommon in Germany. The legal situation between Germany and Belgium is determined by Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA of 13 June 2002 on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States (OJ EU No L 190, 18 July 2002, p. 1). Extradition for fiscal offences is just as possible as extradition of German nationals to Belgium for legal proceedings.

German extradition lawyer on European arrest warrant 

In Belgium, an "investigating judge" can issue an arrest warrant. The suspect must be a criminal offence punishable by at least one year's imprisonment. There must be plausible reasons for the suspicion. The arrest warrant must contain the facts of the offence, the offences to be committed and the facts which give rise to the suspicion of the offence. After first issuing a national arrest warrant, the investigating judge in Belgium can also issue a European arrest warrant.

German extradition lawyer on judgements rendered in absentia 

Belgium is known for decisions rendered in absentia, which are highly problematic as a basis for extradition proceedings.

An appeal against decisions rendered in absentia may be lodged within a period of 15 days, beginning with notification of the decision. If service is not possible, a further "extraordinary period" of 15 days applies, which begins when the person concerned becomes aware of the service. If the person concerned is not informed at all of the service of the judgment, he may also lodge an appeal at a later date up to the limit of the statute of limitations. With regard to all time limits, it is essential that a person prosecuted obtain the advice of a Belgian lawyer because they can change the rules and because the time limit calculation cannot be bindingly assessed from here without knowledge of the Belgian procedural files ! I can only give you some clues. This also applies to limitation periods.

Criminal prosecution is time-barred in Belgium after 20 years, other penalties also after 5 or 10 years from the date of the judgment. Convicted persons can submit a petition for clemency in Belgium, on which the King decides.

Belgium protects freedom from self-incrimination

Also in Belgian criminal proceedings, the accused is not obliged to testify against himself, he has the right to silence. Anyone in custody has the right to the assistance of a lawyer.

In 2015 / 2016 I had success with a constitutional complaint against the extradition of a German citizen to Belgium (Federal Constitutional Court, decision of 15.1.2016 - 2 BvR 1860/15), whereby the extradition was then finally rejected by the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf.

German extradition lawyer on partially poor detention conditions

In 2014, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) criticised the conditions in Belgian prisons in Antwerp and Merksplas. In the detention centre in Antwerp three prisoners were accommodated for several days in a cell of 8 m², one had to sleep on a mattress on the floor. Four prisoners, including smokers, were accommodated in a 16 m² cell without access to water and a toilet at the Merksplas prison. Applications for transfer to a non-smoking cell are not always accepted there. On the situation in Belgium, the ECHR again found that a cell size of less than 3 m² per prisoner is in itself an infringement of Article 3 of the ECHR, as is access to water and a toilet in the cell and forced passive smoking.

Higher Regional Court OLG Hamm (decision of 16.08.2016 - 2 Ausl145/13) on the extradition of a German citizen who is already serving a life sentence in Germany on the basis of a domestic conviction.

Higher Regional Court Zweibrücken: The requested extradition of the person prosecuted to the Kingdom of Belgium for the purpose of executing the sentence of the Mechelen Criminal Court of 27 March 2003 (Case No...) was declared inadmissible because it was prevented by an obstacle to extradition. The European arrest warrant was based on a so-called judgement in absentia under Belgian criminal procedure law. In principle, extradition for enforcement of a foreign decision rendered in absentia is inadmissible if the person persecuted was not in any way informed about the conduct and conclusion of the proceedings concerning him, nor is he given the opportunity to subsequently make himself heard and to defend himself effectively after obtaining this knowledge (BVerfG NJW 1991, 1411; BGHSt 47, 120). Higher Regional Court Zweibrücken, resolution of 07.08.2006 - 1 Ausl16/05).

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