Danckert Bärlein Partner

International Criminal Law and Extradition

Extradition cases are often human-rights cases. In many countries, there is no guarantee either of humane conditions of detention or of fair trials. The target of an extradition request cannot depend on German authorities or courts to recognize this fact themselves.

In extradition cases, we zealously represent the interests of our clients – if necessary, in cooperation with foreign colleagues. We also recognize, however, that international criminal law has become much more important in many areas, not just extraditions.

European law has come to define German criminal law in many areas. Cross-border cooperation by investigators is no longer a rarity, and instruments like the European Arrest Warrant or the European Investigative Order can result in foreign judgments being executed in Germany, potentially setting severe limits on legal protections. On the other hand, the European Convention on Human Rights and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights open up new avenues for the defense. A timely objection to a potential violation of European law can, e.g. in criminal tax cases, have a decisive effect on the outcome of the case. The most important recent developments in criminal procedure law have been made by the European Court of Human Rights in such areas as entrapment, excessively long investigations and trials, and preventive detention.

The German legal system is also increasingly affected by non-European and international law. For instance, decisions of the American Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) may be implemented by German investigative agencies by means of requests for international judicial assistance. International treaties influence legislation on drug and terrorism offenses. The extra-territorial applicability of some foreign criminal laws, such as the American Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, poses additional challenges for compliance organizations.

Accordingly, we follow rapid developments on the European and international level to provide our clients early warning of potential risks and to improve our defensive strategies.

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