Source: Irish times

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Ireland: human rights group applies to join extradition to Poland case

A civil society group has applied to join High Court proceedings in which an Irish judge has asked the European Courts to rule on whether mutual trust continues to exist between Poland and other Member States in EU extradition cases.

Fair Trial Europe, a non-Governmental organisation (NGO) which aims to “defend the human right to a fair trial”, has applied to join High Court extradition proceedings involving Artur Celmer, who is wanted to face trial in his native Poland on drug trafficking charges.

The proposed surrender of Mr Celmer, who was arrested in Ireland on foot of a European Arrest Warrant last May, was referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) last week for a ruling on the effect of recent legislative changes in Poland concerning the Polish judiciary, courts and public prosecutor.

In her decision to refer the case to Europe, Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly said a number of recent legislative changes in Poland were “so immense” that the High Court was forced to conclude that the rule of law in Poland had been “systematically damaged”.

Ms Justice Donnelly received suggested questions to send to Europe from the parties today although the precise wording is a matter for her. She said she would conclude all matters by the end of this week adding that she wouldn’t delay matters any further.

The proposed questions centre on which legal tests apply where the High Court, as an executing judicial authority, has found that the common value of the rule of law in Poland has been systemically breached.

A representatives from the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Dublin was present in court for the matter.

Also in court were lawyers for Fair Trial Europe who made an application to join proceedings as an “amicus curiae”, or friend of the court, to assist matters. Counsel for Fair Trial Europe, Brian Gageby BL, told Ms Justice Donnelly that his client wished to become involved in the matter when it goes before the CJEU and to provide assistance in terms of the questions being asked.

Mr Gageby said he fully appreciated the timing of the application, coming in at the “tail end of the case”. He said his client did not wish to meddle in proceedings. Their desired intention was to assist the CJEU, whether the NGO was permitted to be joined as an “amicus curiae” or not.

Mr Gageby said the question was one of utility and what the proposed “amicus curiae” could add to the proceedings.

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