This Tuesday, the Amsterdam court will assess between 50 and 60 cases of suspects in custody for surrender to an EU country where they are suspected of criminal offenses.
Due to the large number of hearings, the defendants and their lawyers cannot be present at the trial.
According to a spokesman of the court, this special session is linked to a ruling by the European Court of Justice of 24 November this year, which states that the detention of a child in the Netherlands is contrary to European law. To correct this procedural error, the court handles so many cases in one day on Tuesday.
In Dutch practice, a prosecutor ruled on the detention of a suspect pending a court decision on surrender abroad. However, European law requires that this decision be taken by ‘an independent authority’. This is not a public prosecutor because, according to the European Court of justice, he can receive ‘direct instructions from the minister of Justice’. And so the court does not call the decisions of an officer lawful.
As a result, the court in Amsterdam, which, on behalf of the Dutch authorities, handles all requests for legal assistance for the surrender of a suspect abroad, has to rule on detention in some 50 to 60 cases.
In one case last week, the court decided to extend the surrender detention of a suspect, who has been detained since 15 October at the request of the French authorities, on the basis of a decision by the prosecutor. In that ruling, the court agrees that the earlier detention decision by the officer should be considered “unlawful”. However, according to the Court of Amsterdam, this ‘procedural defect’ does not mean that the arrested suspect should be released.