In criminal matters, there is cooperation between almost all countries, inside and outside Europe. Other countries can ask Belgium to extradite a suspect or convicted person to them, and Belgium can ask other countries to extradite a suspect or convicted person to them.
In practice, one speaks of ‘surrender’ and ‘extradition’. A surrender is a request between European countries that make use of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW). An extradition is a request between countries that do not use the EAW, usually outside Europe. The terms are often used interchangeably, but procedurally there is a big difference. The surrender is a relatively quick procedure, because the European Member States rely on mutual trust. Extradition is often a complicated procedure, because there are different treaties for all countries and the intervention of the Minister of Justice is always required. We have built up special expertise in both types of procedure.
In daily practice, surrender (via an EAW) is the most common procedure. We always advise a client to get assistance from a lawyer in both the country to which the surrender is requested and the country that is requesting the surrender. Over the years, we have built up an international network of criminal lawyers,
with whom we can collaborate easily across borders.
Surrender can be requested for 2 reasons. On the one hand, as part of an ongoing criminal investigation, in order to be able to question you and possibly arrest you. On the other hand, as part of the execution of a sentence that has already been pronounced by a court.
In both situations, it is very important to be assisted from the very beginning. In this way, we can advise you correctly on the procedure to be followed (‘short’ or ‘long’ procedure), on the consequences of the ‘principle of speciality’ (which you may never waive!) or on your possible right to lodge an appeal against a decision pronounced in absentia.
Please feel free to contact us to make an appointment or ask any additional questions you may have by e-mail at email@example.com.