Information Note on the Court’s case-law 183
Gallardo Sanchez v. Italy - 11620/07
Judgment 24.3.2015 [Section IV] See:  ECHR 517 (French Text)
Undue delays in extraditing applicant to stand trial in requesting State: violation
Facts - The applicant is a Venezuelan national. In April 2005, having been charged with arson by the Greek authorities, he was placed in detention pending extradition by the Italian police pursuant to an arrest warrant issued under the European Convention on Extradition. He was extradited to Greece in October 2006.
The applicant complained before the European Court of the length of his detention pending extradition.
Law - Article 5 § 1 (f): The applicant’s detention pending extradition had been in conformity with domestic law and had been justified on grounds of the State’s duty to comply with its international commitments and the existence of a risk that the applicant might abscond.
However, the applicant had been placed in detention pending extradition in order to enable the Greek authorities to prosecute him. In that connection it was necessary to distinguish between two forms of extradition in order to specify the level of diligence required for each. These were extradition for the purposes of enforcing a sentence and extradition enabling the requesting State to try the person concerned. In the latter case, as criminal proceedings were still pending the person subject to extradition was to be presumed innocent; furthermore, at that stage their ability to exercise their defence rights in the criminal proceedings for the purposes of proving their innocence was considerably limited, or even non-existent; lastly, the authorities of the requested State were debarred from undertaking any examination of the merits of the case. For all those reasons, the protection of the rights of the person concerned and the proper functioning of the extradition proceedings, including the duty to prosecute the individual concerned within a reasonable time, required the requested State to act with special diligence.
In the present case the detention pending extradition had lasted approximately one year and six months and considerable delays attributable to the Italian authorities had occurred at the different stages of the extradition proceedings, though the case had not been particularly complex. Accordingly, having regard to the nature of the extradition proceedings, instituted for the purpose of prosecuting the applicant in a third State, and the unjustified nature of the delays by the Italian courts, the applicant’s detention had not been “lawful” within the meaning of Article 5 § 1 (f) of the Convention.
Conclusion: violation (unanimously).
Article 41: no claim made in respect of damage.
(See also the Factsheet on Expulsions and extraditions and the Handbook on European law relating to asylum, borders and immigration)
© Council of Europe/European Court of Human Rights
This summary by the Registry does not bind the Court.
Click here for the Case-Law Information Notes