1. Are extradition proceedings regulated by domestic legislation, treaties or both?
Domestic legislation (articles 436 to 457 of the Greek Code of Criminal Procedure (GCCP) – in Greek only here) applies solely to extradition proceedings with countries that are not a party to any bilateral or multilateral treaty with Greece. In all other cases, extradition to a non-EU country is regulated by the law that ratified the bilateral or multilateral treaty and the above-mentioned provisions of the GCCP are applicable solely on matters not covered by the treaties. European arrest warrant (EAW) proceedings are regulated by Law 3251/2004, which implemented the Council Framework Decision of 13 June 2002 on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between member states.
2. Is there a central register of extradition treaties that your state has entered into?
The laws that ratified extradition treaties are published in the Official Government Gazette (http://www.et.gr/). A list of the international treaties Greece has entered into can be found on the website of the Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights.
3. Do special extradition arrangements apply to certain foreign states, for example states that are geographically proximate, or politically, legally or economically closely linked?
4. Is extradition possible to states that have no bilateral or multilateral extradition treaty with your state if they are party to an international convention?
The existence of a bilateral of multilateral treaty is not a precondition for an extradition request to be granted. If no treaty exists, the basic rules of extradition are applicable, which are to be found in the GCCP. It should be noted that, in these instances, any extradition requests will also be examined following the principle of reciprocity.
5. Is extradition possible to states that are not extradition treaty partners as an ad hoc arrangement?
Extradition to states that are not treaty partners is regulated by the provisions of the GCCP and the principle of reciprocity.
6. For which offences is extradition from your state allowed?
The offences for which extradition is allowed vary depending on the applicable legislative framework. In particular, if an extradition request is filed through the EAW mechanism, the offences are listed in the Council Framework Decision of 13 June 2002 on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between member states (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32002F0584).
Extradition requests outside EAW proceedings are normally granted with respect to offences punishable by deprivation of liberty or under a detention order for a maximum period of at least one year, or by a more severe penalty, provided that the principle of dual criminality applies. If the extradition request is issued for the execution of a sentence imposed by the courts of the requesting state, the sentence must be imprisonment for at least four months.
However, extradition is not granted for certain categories of offences (eg, political, military or tax offences depending on the legal extradition instrument that governs each case).
7. Is there a requirement for double (dual) criminality? How is this assessed?
Dual criminality is required in extradition proceedings with regard to non-EU countries. In these instances, the Judicial Council with the Court of Appeal sitting as a first instance court performs a two-phase test on dual criminality.
During the first phase of the test (in abstracto), the Council establishes whether the facts invoked by the requesting state (which constitute the offence for which extradition is requested) would constitute an offence under Greek law. The legal characterisation of the act is irrelevant.
During the second phase of the test (in concreto), the Council determines whether there are reasons that bar prosecution, according to Greek laws as well as the laws of the requesting state (eg, prescription, double jeopardy).
An exception to the dual criminality principle is provided for with regard to EU member states in Law 3251/2004. This refers to the execution of the EAW, which is allowed, without verification of dual criminality for a catalogue of 32 offences, if they are punishable in the issuing member state by a custodial sentence or a detention order for a maximum period of at least three years. If an EAW is filed for a non-listed offence, the Council performs the dual criminality test.
8. How would your state deal with a request that includes an offence for which extraterritorial jurisdiction is claimed?
Extradition is barred if the offence, or part of the offence, is committed on Greek territory.
9. What must be included as part of a valid extradition request made by the foreign state?
In EAW proceedings, the request must be translated into Greek and shall include all information set out in accordance with the form contained in the Annex to the Council Framework Decision of 13 June 2002. Moreover, the requested person has the right to ask to receive a copy of the decision imposing a custodial sentence or detention order, provided that the decision has not yet been served on the requested person. The delivery of the copy of the decision to the requested person by the competent authority of the executing state is not considered to be the official service of the decision and does not initiate the time limits for appeal.
An extradition request by a foreign non-EU state shall include the judicial decision or the domestic arrest warrant that is the basis of the request, a statement of the offences for which extradition is requested, a description of the time and place when the offences were committed, their legal classification, a reference and a copy of the relevant legal provisions and an accurate identification of the requested person, with any other information that will help establish his or her identity and nationality. Article 443 of the GCCP provides that extradition requests must be submitted with all necessary documentation so as to confirm the existence of adequate indications of guilt to refer to trial the person whose extradition is requested. However, in most extradition treaties to which Greece is a party, the non-inquiry rule is provided for and therefore article 443 of the GCCP does not apply.
10. What are the stages of the extradition process?
Extradition proceedings for requested persons in Greece are conducted in two stages.
The judicial stage, which involves the examination of the extradition request by the Judicial Council (of first or second instance), decides whether the request shall be allowed. Following the judicial stage, and provided that the Judicial Council has ruled in favour of the extradition, the administrative stage opens, when the Minister of Justice decides whether the requested person shall be surrendered.
Note that extradition proceedings for a European arrest warrant involve only the judicial stage.
11. If an initial political decision is required, what factors can be considered?
A political decision is required at the end of the extradition proceedings (see question 10). Humanitarian, foreign policy or other factors may influence the political decision on extradition (or non-extradition).
12. Is provisional arrest, before the extradition request is received, possible?
Yes. In urgent cases when there are strong indications that the person whose extradition is requested would flee, the Prosecutor with the Court of Appeal may issue a provisional order, prior to formal submission of the request for extradition. However, the arrest warrant or the extradition request must be submitted shortly afterwards by the requesting state.
13. Must a domestic arrest warrant be issued or can an Interpol red notice be used to carry out a provisional arrest?
As stated in question 12, this is possible in urgent cases. However, an arrest warrant by the requesting state must be issued and submitted shortly afterwards to the prosecutor who ordered the provisional arrest.
14. What is required to apply for a domestic extradition arrest warrant?
As soon as the President of the Court of Appeal receives the extradition request and all the relevant documentation, he or she may order the arrest of the requested person by issuing an arrest warrant against him or her.
In EAW proceedings, the domestic arrest warrant is issued by the Prosecutor with the Court of Appeal.
15. What rights does the requested person have while under arrest?
While under arrest, the requested person has the right to appoint an attorney, the right to access the case file and to receive copies of all the documents included therein, and the right to information relating to the reasons for his or her arrest. The requested person also has the right to interpretation and translation.
If the requested person is arrested on the basis of an EAW, a document with information about a requested person’s rights shall immediately be made available to that person, who shall be forwarded without delay to the Prosecutor with the Court of Appeal. The Prosecutor, after confirming the person’s identity, shall inform him or her of the existence and content of the warrant, and of the right to have a legal counsel and an interpreter appointed in both the issuing and the executing state. The requested person also has the right to inform and communicate with a third party and with the consular authorities of the state of which he or she is a citizen. The arrested person is also informed of the right to consent to surrender to the issuing state.
16. Is bail available in extradition proceedings?
Yes. Other restrictive measures (eg, prohibition to leave the country, appearing at the police station of the person’s residence) may also be imposed.
17. If so, what are the factors that a court will take into account in deciding whether to grant bail?
Bail is granted by the competent prosecutor if the requested person is not a flight risk or a risk to public safety. Practice shows that factors that determine the likelihood of someone absconding include the existence of residence in Greece, whether the requested person has strong social or family ties in Greece, and his or her criminal records.
18. Can the court impose conditions when granting bail? What conditions can be, and usually are, imposed?
See question 16.
19. What bars can be raised to resist extradition?
The rules that bar extradition vary depending on the legal basis of the extradition request. Generally, the following are the most common grounds that bar extradition.
1. If the requested person was Greek when the act was committed or is Greek when the request is made
This exception is mandatory. The Greek prosecuting authorities have access to records regarding the existence of the Greek nationality of a requested person. Moreover, if there is a dispute, the requested person is allowed to provide any evidence that supports his or her claim to be a Greek national.
Note that this rule does not apply in EAW proceedings, in which Greeks are subject to the execution of an EAW. However, if the requested person is a Greek national who has been prosecuted for the same acts in Greece, then the EAW shall not be executed.
2. If Greece has jurisdiction to prosecute and punish the act for which the request was made
This exception is mandatory and applies in EAW proceedings as well, if prosecution has been initiated. The courts examine the factual basis of the request to determine whether Greece has jurisdiction over the case.
If it is not clear from the facts stated in the request that the criminal act, or part of the act, was committed in Greece or whether jurisdiction of the Greek courts is established by other laws, the requested person is allowed to provide evidence to argue in this respect.
3. If the crime for which extradition is sought is characterised by Greek laws as political, military, tax-related or related to the press, or is prosecuted only by a complaint by the victim
In such cases, extradition is mandatorily barred. The courts examine the factual and legal basis of the extradition request and determine the characterisation of the offence according to Greek laws. Note that in EAW proceedings, tax offences are not, in principle, exempt from the execution of an EAW. Also, in various extradition treaties, tax or political offences do not bar extradition.
4. If the requested person has already been finally tried for the same act in Greece
This exception is mandatory. The courts examine the relevant decisions issued to determine whether the judicial decisions consider the same factual basis as stated in the extradition requests. Although the burden of proof does not lie with the requested person, in practice it is he or she who presents all relevant evidence to the court.
Moreover, extradition may be refused if the Greek judicial or prosecutorial authorities have decided either not to institute or to terminate proceedings in respect of the same offence.
The same rule applies in EAW proceedings if the requested person has been prosecuted and finally tried for the same act in an EU member state and the sentence has been served in full or can no longer be served. This exception is mandatory. If the requested person has been prosecuted and finally tried for the same act in a third state and the sentence has been served in full or can no longer be served, this exception is discretionary. Furthermore, if the requested person has been prosecuted for the same act in an EU member state and the authorities of that state decided not to institute or terminate proceedings (eg, by issuing a prosecutor’s order), this exception is discretionary.
5. If, in accordance with the laws of the state requesting extradition or the Greek state or the state where the crime was committed, a lawful reason occurred preventing prosecution or execution of the sentence or excluding punishment has emerged prior to the decision on extradition (eg, amnesty or the time-barring of the offence or the penalty)
This exception is mandatory. Although the burden of proof does not lie with the requested person, in practice it is he or she who produces all relevant evidence to the court to support this argument, if the evidence has not been submitted by the authorities of the requesting state.
In EAW proceedings, the field of this rule is narrower, as it applies only in cases where the offence for which the EAW was issued is time-barred or covered by amnesty according to Greek law, provided that Greece had jurisdiction to prosecute the offence under its own criminal laws.
6. If there are reasons to believe that the person for whom extradition is requested would be prosecuted by the state to which he or she will be extradited for an act other than the one for which extradition is requested (ie, potential breach of the speciality principle)
This exception is mandatory. Although the burden of proof does not lie with the requested person, in practice, it is he or she who argues and produces all the relevant evidence.
In EAW proceedings, potential breaches of the speciality principle are not mentioned as grounds for non-execution. However, in such cases, the Greek state must give its official consent to prosecute or detain the arrested person in the issuing state with respect to an offence committed prior to and other than that for which the EAW had been issued. The Greek judicial authorities shall rule no later than 30 days following receipt of the request, and of the translation of all relevant information, provided that there are no grounds of refusal, if an EAW was issued for that additional offence.
7. If there are substantial indications that the extradition request was made for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing a person on account of his or her race, religion, ethnic identity, nationality, language, sexual orientation or political opinion, his or her activities for freedom or that the person’s position may be prejudiced for any of these reasons
This exception is mandatory. Although the burden of proof does not lie with the requested person, in practice, it is he or she who argues and produces all the relevant evidence. The same rule applies in EAW proceedings.
8. If a death sentence may be imposed for offence in the requesting state or if it is likely that the requested person will be subject to otherwise inhuman or degrading treatment.
This exception is mandatory in extradition proceedings as it is explicitly stated in the Code of Criminal Procedure (article 438 vii). Although the burden of proof does not lie with the requested person, in practice, it is he or she who argues and produces all the relevant evidence. This applies in EAW proceedings as well, as it is stipulated by article 1, paragraph 2 of Law 3251/2004.
9. If it is likely that the requested person’s human rights will be violated
This exception is mandatory in extradition proceedings as it is explicitly stated in the Code of Criminal Procedure (article 438 vii). Although the burden of proof does not lie with the requested person, in practice, it is he or she who argues and produces all the relevant evidence. In respect to EAW proceedings, although it is not directly stipulated in Law 3251/2004, it should be noted that in some instances courts have rejected the execution of EAWs to countries where it is likely the requested person’s human rights will be violated.
10. If the requested person had been convicted in absentia without being duly summoned to appear
This exception is mandatory in extradition proceedings as it is explicitly stated in the Code of Criminal Procedure (article 438 vii). Although the burden of proof does not lie with the requested person, in practice, it is he or she who argues and produces all the relevant evidence. This applies in EAW proceedings as well.
11. If the requesting stated has filed an extradition request which has previously been rejected
If an extradition request has already been rejected, a second one is valid only if it contains new evidence that has not been previously examined by the court.
20. Does your state extradite its own nationals and residents?
In extradition proceedings, in general Greece does not extradite a person who was a Greek citizen when the offence was committed or is a Greek citizen when the request is made.
This bar does not apply in EAW proceedings, when Greeks are subject to the execution of the EAW. However, as soon as a final judgment is issued, the requested person shall be retransferred to Greece and serve the imposed sentence there. If there are no prior assurances for a retransfer, the execution of the EAW is refused.
For EAWs issued for the requested person to serve a sentence, execution of the EAW shall be refused and the Greek national shall immediately serve the sentence in compliance with the applicable Greek penal laws.
21. Are potential breaches of human rights after extradition considered in the extradition process?
According to the Code of Criminal Procedure, if it likely that the requested person’s human rights will be violated, then the extradition request shall be rejected. As regards EAWs, it should be noted that in a limited number of cases, Greek courts have rejected execution on the basis of potential breaches of human rights. This is more likely in respect of requesting states that are globally known for their systematic breach of human rights.
22. Can a person consent to extradition, and what is the procedure? Is consent irrevocable?
Yes, a person can consent to extradition when he or she is brought before the Prosecutor with the Court of Appeal, although the extradition proceedings will continue as described above.
However, consent has different legal effects in EAW proceedings. When the requested person is arrested, he or she is brought before the Prosecutor with the Court of Appeal, who informs the person of his or her rights and of the fact that consent is irrevocable. If the requested person consents to the execution of the EAW, a report is issued by the Prosecutor, which is also signed by the requested person, as per the provisions of the GCCP. Afterwards, the requested person is brought before the President of the Court of Appeal, who orders the EAW to be executed within 10 days. Note that if the requested person has consented to extradition, that person is not entitled to an appeal.
23. Is there a speciality protection? How is it provided? Does it apply if a person consents to extradition?
Yes, both in extradition and EAW proceedings, and it applies irrespective of the consent of the requested person to the execution of the request.
In particular, speciality protection applies if there are grounds to believe that the person for whom extradition is requested would be prosecuted by the state to which he or she is to be surrended for an act other than the one for which extradition is sought. If this is the case, the extradition request is rejected. However, exceptions to speciality protection are provided for. In such instances, a request for consent shall be submitted to the Greek state, accompanied by all necessary documents and a legal record of any statement made by the extradited person in respect of the offence concerned. Consent shall be granted when the offence for which it is requested is itself subject to extradition. Moreover, speciality protection does not apply if an extradited person, having had an opportunity to leave the territory of the requesting state to which he or she has been surrendered, has not done so within 45 days of his or her final discharge, or has returned to that territory after leaving it.
In EAW proceedings, potential breaches of the speciality principle are not mentioned as grounds for non-execution. In such cases, the Greek state must give its official consent to prosecute or detain the surrendered person in the issuing state with respect to an offence committed prior to and other than that for which the EAW had been issued. The Greek judicial authorities shall rule no later than 30 days after receipt of the request and of the translation of all relevant information, provided that there are no grounds of refusal, if an EAW was issued for that additional offence.
24. If there is a political decision at the end of the extradition process, what factors can be considered?
As opposed to EAW proceedings, a political decision is required in extradition proceedings if the Judicial Council (of first or second instance) rules in favour of the extradition. In such cases, the final decision is made by the Minister of Justice, whose decisions are issued according to the principle of feasibility and reciprocity. Some of the factors that are taken into consideration are the diplomatic and political relations between Greece and the requesting state, the political status of the requested person and humanitarian grounds.
25. What ability is there to appeal against or judicially challenge decisions made during the extradition process? What are the requirements for any appeal or challenge?
If the Judicial Council with the Court of Appeal (which sits as a first instance court) rules in favour of the extradition, the requested person may lodge an appeal against the related judgment within five days with the Judicial Council of the Supreme Court, which sits as a second instance court. Note that an appeal can be filed directly by the requested person or by his or her counsel. Should the competent Judicial Council’s rule against extradition and the competent Prosecutor with the Court of Appeal does not lodge an appeal before the Supreme Court, the requested person is released.
The same applies in EAW proceedings.
26. What are the time limits for the extradition process? How long does each phase of the extradition process take in practice?
The law provides that as soon as the requested person is arrested and his or her identity is verified by the Prosecutor with the Court of Appeal, all necessary documentation is sent to the President of the Court of Appeal, who asks the three-member Judicial Council to decide on the extradition request. The requested person and the Prosecutor of the Court of Appeal have the right to request postponement of the hearing for a maximum of eight days. As soon as the Judicial Council issues its decision, the requested person and the Prosecutor with the Court of Appeal have the right to appeal the decision within 24 hours. In the case of an appeal, the law provides that the Supreme Court, which deliberates as a court of second instance and re-examines the case in full, shall issue its decision within eight days of the hearing. However, in practice and if the requested person is not detained in prison but released under restrictive measures (such as bail, prohibition to exit the country, etc) or if the Judicial Council requests more information and evidence from the requesting state, the aforementioned deadlines for extradition proceedings exceed the above-mentioned time limits and are typically completed within a period of five to six months.
In EAW proceedings, as soon as the requested person is arrested following an Interpol red notice, he or she may remain in custody for 15 days, which can be extended to 30 days, until the EAW is sent by the issuing state. If the requested person consents to the execution of the EAW, the proceedings shall be completed within 10 days. If the requested person does not consent to the execution of the EAW, the proceedings shall be completed within 60 days. However, if the these deadlines cannot be met, the judicial authorities inform the authorities of the issuing state and an extension of no more than 30 days shall be granted. If none of the above-mentioned deadlines can be met, the judicial authorities shall inform Eurojust of the reasons for the delay. These types of delays do not bar further proceedings.
27. In what circumstances may parallel proceedings delay extradition?
As per the provisions of Law 4375/2016, which transposed Directive 2013/32/EC on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection, asylum applicants shall be allowed to remain in Greece until the conclusion of the administrative procedure for the examination of their application and they shall not be removed in any way. However, it is expressly stated that this provision is not applicable if the authorities either surrender the applicant to another EU member state pursuant to an EAW, or extradite the applicant to a third country, with the exception of the applicant’s country of origin, or to international criminal courts, in accordance with the country’s international obligations. An exception to the above rule is provided for when this surrender or extradition leads to the direct or indirect refoulement of the applicant in breach of article 33 paragraph 1 of the Geneva Convention, or to a risk of persecution or serious harm in accordance with the relevant provisions of Presidential Decree 141/2013, article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, article 3 of the New York international Convention against torture, article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, articles 4 and 19 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and article 5 of the Greek Constitution. Moreover, no applicant shall be extradited before a final decision on his or her application is issued, as long as the applicant claims fear of persecution in the requesting state.
As regards pending criminal proceedings, the following should be noted.
Greece may refuse to extradite the requested person, or to execute the EAW, if the requested person is prosecuted for the same offences by the Greek judicial authorities. However, if the requested person is prosecuted in Greece for other criminal acts, Greece may postpone extradition until those criminal proceedings are concluded. If there is high risk that the offences for which he or she is requested will be time barred in the requesting state (or prosecution will be barred for other legal reasons), Greece may exceptionally grant the extradition request under the condition that the requested person is returned to Greece at the conclusion of the prosecution in the requesting state.
28. What provision is made for legal representation of the requesting state or the requested person?
The requested person can be represented by counsel in both extradition and EAW proceedings. The same does not apply for the requesting or issuing state, which is not permitted to be represented by counsel during such proceedings.