Spanish Supreme Court criticizes Belgium for "lack of commitment" following extradition denial

The Belgian justice system determined that the accused Catalan politicians could not be handed over

Spain’s Supreme Court believes that the decision by Belgian justice to deny extradition of Catalan ministers Toni Comín, Meritxell Serret, and Lluís Puig could be interpreted as a "lack of commitment" by the judges of the European capital to "providing the requested judicial collaboration", according to high court sources on Wednesday.

The Supreme Court sources indicate that the processing resolution handed down against the ministers and the other individuals indicted in the case being pursued by judge Llarena is a "clear supporting resolution" for the European arrest warrant that has now been dismissed by Belgium. Furthermore, they indicated that —barring a sentence— a processing resolution is the "most developed argument" of support in the Spanish legal system. Thus, they believe that "only a lack of knowledge of the legal system" could lead the Belgian justice to ignore Spain’s processing resolution.

The Belgian justice system determined that the accused could not be handed over to the Spanish authorities due to an error in form, as the European arrest warrant was not based on any Spanish equivalent. This is because Justice Llarena had reactivated the original European order, after deactivating the one drafted by Audiencia Nacional judge Carmen Lamela on the first arrest warrant, rather than issuing a new one.

The Supreme Court, however, sees a lack in interest by Belgian justice in the procedure, and believes that there is not enough basis to deny the extradition. It had harsh words for its Belgian colleagues in accusing them of not knowing the legal rules that apply to the procedure for the extradition of accused parties within the European Union.

The protest by the Supreme Court sources is one of the few responses that Llarena could offer to the Belgian judge’s refusal to grant the extradition request; as Spain is not a party to this case, the Belgian prosecutor is the party who would have to present allegations, and the public ministry has already announced that this is not under consideration.

More content