Human Rights and Equality Commission Focuses on Standards of Evidence and Proof, in Right to Fair Trial Case

Commission Appears as Amicus Curiae before the High Court

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (‘the Commission’) has today appeared before the High Court as an amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’) in an internationally significant case relating to a European Arrest Warrant and an individual’s right to a fair trial.

The Commission in its legal submissions to the High Court published today, has sought to assist the Court by drawing on international and domestic practices on how the High Court can weigh and assess the evidence in light of the important human rights issues identified in the European Arrest Warrant proceedings.

The case centres on the requested extradition of Mr. Artur Celmer, a Polish national, to Poland under a European Arrest Warrant, where concerns have been raised over recent legislative changes in Poland about the independence of the judiciary, the courts and the Public Prosecutor. These changes, according to Mr. Celmer, undermine the possibility of him having a fair trial.

Following a referral of two questions by the High Court in Dublin to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) in Luxembourg, the High Court has been advised by the CJEU that it must make a specific and precise assessment on whether, there is a real risk that the Respondent’s fair trial rights will be breached.

In its written assistance to the Court the Commission highlights international and Irish case law and states:

“There is no doubt that European Arrest Warrant proceedings, being linked to the criminal justice system of another State and involving immediate restrictions on liberty and potentially grave consequences in the long term, present a distinct and special situation as regards the assessment of evidence.

“The Commission seeks to be of assistance to the Court as regards the appropriate standards and tools for the assessment of evidence.”

ENDS/

For further information, please contact:

Brian Dawson, IHREC Communications Manager,

01 8589601 / 087 0697095

bdawson@ihrec.ie

Follow us on twitter @_IHREC

Editor’s Note

The Commission’s written submissions to the High Court are available at the following link:

Celmer High Court Amicus

The amicus curiae function of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

The Commission’s functions under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014 include that of applying for liberty to appear as an amicus curiae (friend of the court) before the superior courts in proceedings that involve, or are concerned with, the human rights or equality rights of any person.

Section 10 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act sets out the functions of the Commission and Section 10(2)(e) provides that the IHREC shall have a function:

“to apply to the High Court or the Supreme Court for liberty to appear before the High Court or the Supreme Court, as the case may be, as amicus curiae in proceedings before that Court that involve or are concerned with the human rights or equality rights of any person and to appear as such an amicus curiae on foot of such liberty being granted (which liberty each of the said courts is hereby empowered to grant in its absolute discretion).”

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.

 

 

 

 

 

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