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Operation of the European Arrest Warrant in Poland during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in 2020

On 6 August 2021, the European Commission published a report on the operation of the European Arrest Warrant (“EAW”) in the 27 Member States of the European Union in 2019.[1]


The HFHR obtained data on the operation of the European Arrest Warrant in Poland in the years 2019-2020 from the Ministry of Justice by filing an access to public information request.[2] These data permit a partial assessment of the operation of the EAW during the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic.

Poland’s EAW requests submitted to Member States of the European Union

The data obtained from the Ministry of Justice show that in 2019, prosecutors submitted 466 EAW requests under Article 607a of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 6 June 1997[3] (“CCP”). The figure for 2020 was 443. This means a slight decrease. Moreover, the information obtained shows that in 2019 and 2020, the courts issued, respectively, 2,281 and 1,795 warrants under Article 607a CCP. The decrease in the number of EAWs issued is therefore significant (nearly 500).


Notably, the highest number of European Arrest Warrants issued by Poland was sent to Germany (2019 – 587, 2020 – 453), the United Kingdom (2019 – 467, 2020 – 395) and the Netherlands (2019 – 315, 2020 – 293). Importantly, however, Germany executed 148 EAWs in 2019 and 379 in 2020.[4] The United Kingdom executed 364 EAWs issued by Poland in 2019, 2015 in 2020, whereas the Netherlands executed 148 Polish EAWs in 2019 and 102 in 2020.

EAW requests submitted by Member States of the European Union to Poland

According to the information obtained by the HFHR from the Ministry of Justice, in 2019 prosecutor’s offices in Poland received and forwarded to courts 393 EAWs from other EU Member States. In 2020, prosecutor’s offices received 321 EAWs, approx. 70 less than in the previous year. The highest number of requests received by Polish prosecutors originated from Germany (2019 – 212, 2020 – 184), Czechia (2019 – 24, 2020 – 25) and Austria (2019 – 18, 2020 – 16).


At the same time, in 2019 and 2020 Polish courts issued, respectively, 303 and 262 surrender decisions under Article 607m CCP. The highest number of surrender decisions named Germany as the target country (2019 – 160, 2020 – 143), followed by Czechia (2019 – 20, 2020 – 21) and Austria (in 2019 and 2020 – 16).


Importantly, the effectiveness of requests submitted to Poland can be said to be at a level similar to that of requests issued by Poland: it was 77% in 2019, and 81% in 2020.


The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic undoubtedly affected the criminal justice system and international cooperation in criminal matters, as evidenced by the statistical data.



[1] Statistics on the practical operation of the European arrest warrant – 2019, European Commission, 6 August 2021, https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/default/files/law/search_law/documents/eaw_statistics_2019_swd_2021_227_final_08_2021_en.pdf.

[2] The response to the request of the HFHR was sent electronically on 29 April 2021, ref. BK-IV.082.79.2021.

[3] A consolidated text published in the Journal of Laws of 2021, item 534, as amended.

[4] The number of executed EAWs represents the number of persons surrendered, including voluntarily, and the number of non-surrender decisions.

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