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European arrest warrant


Photo: Government Offices of Sweden

Surrender from Sweden according to a European arrest warrant

Since 1 January 2004, in relationships with other European Union Member States, the Act (2003:1156) on surrender from Sweden according to the European arrest warrant and the Ordinance (2003:1179) relating to the same subject are applied, instead of the regulations in the Extradition for criminal offences act relating to extradition from Sweden. The Act and the Ordinance regulate surrender from Sweden, and they include regulations relating to the handling and decisions by prosecutors and courts in matters of surrender. Surrender can be requested for two reasons, either so that a person shall serve a sentence already passed in the other country or so that legal proceedings can be started against the person there.

A decision relating to surrender from Sweden is made by a (City or) District Court. The Court's decision to surrender a person against his/her own will can be appealed against to the Court of Appeal and to the Supreme Court. The District Court shall in principle issue its decision within 30 days from the date when the requested person was apprehended. If the person consents to surrender, the decision shall be issued within ten days from the consent. The requested person has the right to be assisted by a public defence counsel. The trial in a court shall as a rule include a hearing.

The Act indicates the conditions under which surrender can be approved. A condition for the surrender of a person to face trial is that the offence according to the legislation of the requesting member state can lead to imprisonment for at least one year. A condition for surrender for the execution of a custodial sentence or detention order is that a sentence or order of at least four months has been imposed. The previous requirement of double criminality also applies, i.e. that the act also constitutes an offence under Swedish law. However, surrender can also be approved in certain cases for an offence that is not a crime according to Swedish law. For surrender to be approved in such a case the offence must be covered by the Annex to the Act - the so-called list - and the offence must be subject to a custodial sentence or detention order of three years or more according to the legislation of the issuing Member State.

The Arrest Warrant Act also includes a list of situations in which surrender may not be granted. Examples are: if the requested person has already been convicted of the offence in Sweden or in another Member State, if a pardon or a decision not to prosecute for the act has been issued, if the offence has been committed in Sweden and it does not constitute a crime in Sweden, or if the offence is already statute-barred. In certain cases, a person whose surrender to serve a sentence is requested may, instead of being surrendered to the other country, serve the sentence in Sweden. Sometimes, a person who is surrendered to face trial shall be brought back to Sweden to serve here the sentence of the other state.

In certain cases when the request comes from Denmark or Finland, the Nordic Extradition Act shall apply instead of the Arrest Warrant Act.

Surrender to Sweden according to a European arrest warrant

In the same way as the regulations regarding extradition from Sweden to other Member States of the European Union have been replaced by regulations regarding surrender from Sweden, the regulations regarding extradition to Sweden from other Member States were similarly replaced on 1 January 2004 by the Ordinance (2003:1178) on surrender to Sweden according to the European arrest warrant.

A Swedish arrest warrant for the purpose of criminal prosecution, i.e. a request that a person shall be apprehended and surrendered to Sweden from another Member State in order to face legal proceedings, shall be issued by a prosecutor. An arrest warrant may be issued for a crime for which the requested person is wanted as being suspected on probable cause for the crime and for which a sentence of imprisonment for at least one year is prescribed. A Swedish arrest warrant for the purpose of execution of a custodial sentence or detention order is issued by a prosecutor at the request of the National Prison and Probation Administration, the National Board of Health and Welfare or the National Board of Institutional Care. Such an arrest warrant may be issued if a custodial sentence or detention order of at least four months or without a time limit has been imposed. If the other Member State so requests, the procedure shall be handled as extradition in lieu of as surrender.

The Ordinance on surrender to Sweden according to the European arrest warrant contains regulations with regard to conditions stipulated by the other Member State and about the transfer of enforcement of a sentence.

The regulations of other Member States of the European Union

Information about how the arrest warrant procedure has been ratified and about the legislation in the different Member States can be found on the Council's web site.


The question of extradition within the European Union was discussed at the European Council's summit meeting in Tampere in 1999. The Presidency Conclusion No 35 from the summit meeting states that the European Council considers that the formal extradition procedure should be abolished among the Member States as far as persons are concerned who are fleeing from justice after having been finally sentenced, and replaced by a simple transfer of such persons. According to the Conclusion, consideration should also be given to fast track extradition procedures and the Commission was invited to make proposals on this matter.

On 19 September 2001, the Commission presented a proposal for a Framework Decision regarding a European arrest warrant. The aim of the proposal was that all extradition within the European Union should be replaced by a simplified and more expedited procedure where legal authorities in a Member State after a limited examination shall surrender a wanted person to another member state for legal proceedings or for the enforcement of a sentence. During the following autumn, an intense work began within the European Union, in order to elaborate the Commission's proposal and prepare a Council Framework decision.

For Sweden, it was necessary to obtain the Parliament's approval before Sweden could vote for the Framework Decision in the Council. In the meantime, Sweden made a Parliamentary reservation. In March 2002, the Swedish Government presented a Government Bill, Adoption of the Council Framework Decision on a European arrest warrant (Bill 2001/02:118). In the government bill, it was proposed that Sweden should vote in favour of the Framework Decision. The Government Bill also included a description of the legislation that is required in order to implement the Framework Decision, but it included no proposal for such legislation. The Parliament approved the government bill in May 2002 (bet. 2001/02:JuU29, rskr. 2001/02:256).

After the Framework Decision had been approved by the Council, the Government presented a bill to the Swedish Parliament in October 2003 containing a proposal for the legislation required to implement the Framework Decision in Swedish law, (government bill 2003/04:7). After discussion in the Standing Committee on Justice (bet. 2003/04:JuU08), the Parliament approved the Arrest Warrant Act in December 2003.

The Swedish Government has evaluated the application in Sweden of the European Arrest Warrant (regeringens skrivelse [2005/06:62] Tillämpningen i Sverige av den europeiska arresteringsordern).


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