Extradition between Germany
and Belarus

Extradition between Germany and Belarus
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Extradition to a third country does not always only entail the risk of deprivation of liberty for the persons concerned. In some cases, they also have to fear for their physical integrity, even for their very lives. Therefore, extradition proceedings are usually not only an emotional burden but also a considerable legal challenge.

Schlun & Elseven is an internationally active law firm specialising, among other things, in representing clients in extradition proceedings. Our extradition lawyers have the necessary expertise and years of experience in dealing with Interpol and the extradition authorities to represent you with competence and commitment during this difficult time. We not only represent clients who are to be extradited from or to Germany. We also enable the removal of Interpol Red Notices, regardless of which country initiated them.

Extraditions between the two states can take place without an agreement based on the respective general laws. In Germany, the extradition requirements are based on the IRG, the Law on International Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.

In 2021, Germany decided on five extradition requests from Belarus. None was granted. Conversely, on request from Germany was granted by Belarus in 2021.

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Extradition of German Citizens to Belarus

According to Article 16 (2) GG, German citizens can only be extradited to other EU states or international courts. Since Belarus is not a member state of the European Union, Germans are not extradited.

Extradition of non-German EU Citizens to Belarus

EU citizens who are in Germany can, in principle, be extradited. According to the ECJ, the distinction between German and non-German EU citizens does not violate the general prohibition of discrimination or the free movement of persons under Articles 18 and 21 TFEU.

Removal of a Red Notice from Belarus – worldwide

If Belarus requests a person’s apprehension and subsequent extradition, the authorities of Belarus can obtain an Interpol Red Notice for this person. Such a red notice can be challenged as a precautionary measure or only when it becomes known. Our experienced lawyers for extradition law will submit requests for information to the respective National Central Bureaus (NCBs) of Interpol on your behalf, prepare and file corresponding protective letters and work unerringly towards the cancellation of the Red Notice – so that you can once again move freely in the world without worrying about an immanent arrest and the associated consequences and risks.

Extradition Requirements under the IRG

If a foreigner commits a punishable act abroad, they can, in principle, be extradited, Section 2 (2) IRG.

The act committed must also be punishable in Germany and by a maximum of at least one year’s imprisonment, Section 3 IRG.

An extradition request must be refused if political or personal motives impact the request, Section 6 IRG. In the case of military breaches of duty, extradition also does not take place, Section 7 IRG.

Transfers, onward deliveries, and deportations of the person concerned to third states always require Germany’s consent, Section 11 IRG.

Potential problems of extradition to Belarus

Death Penalty:

According to Section 8 IRG, extradition may not be granted if the person concerned faces the death penalty in the requesting state. However, assurance may be given that the death penalty will not be carried out. After such an assurance, extradition may take place. Accordingly, extradition may occur if the death penalty is imposed according to the laws of the requesting state, but it may not be enforced.

Human and civil rights:

According to Article 3 ECHR, no one may be subjected to torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment. If such treatment is to be expected after extradition, the person will not be extradited.

Amnesty International reports that torture and other ill-treatment are common, and such acts go unpunished. Criminal proceedings are not based on the rule of law. Instead, they are instrumentalised by the government to eliminate and punish critics.

According to the Foreign Office, there has been a massive deterioration in the human rights situation since Lukashenko’s disputed presidential election.

Freedom of expression, press and assembly are severely restricted. In 2021, the authorities blocked several hundred websites, and demonstrations were broken up by force.

German court decisions on extraditions to Belarus

In 2019, the Federal Constitutional Court prohibited extradition to Belarus until the final decision on the constitutional complaint was filed by the person concerned. Previously, the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt has approved this extradition, particularly because Belarus had assured that the person concerned would be accommodated by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) according to European standards. The constitutional complaint doubts, in particular, whether the detention conditions would comply with Article 3 ECHR, e.g., because the cell would fall below the specified minimum size.

In 2008, the Higher Regional Court of Zweibrücken ruled that because of the continuing abuses in the Republic of Belarus about the fairness of criminal proceedings and the treatment of prisoners in conformity with human rights, extradition cannot be granted.

In 2011, the Rostock Higher Regional Court declared extradition to Belarus admissible in the case of rape. The decision was made after assurances that the death penalty would not be imposed and that the person concerned would be placed in a detention facility that met the requirements of the ECHR.

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