example, Germany has severe laws against questioning
certain aspects of WW2 history,
which it terms "holocaust denial".
Such historical enquiry is not considered a crime
in Britain ...
at least not yet.
However, a British citizen who broke this law in Germany,
and then returned to Britain, could be extradited
on this charge.
Official - Auschwitz
Chamber A Fake
Note, however, that an extradition request can only be
made if the alleged crime was committed in the country
which is asking for extradition. It is not possible to
be extradited to, say, Germany, for something which you
have said or done in Britain.
But the situation does become blurred, however, regarding
internet forums. If you post something from Britain, on
an internet forum which is hosted in, say, Germany, would
that be prosecutable? That is the question. See the second
article below, for further comment on this controversial
Britain Signs up
to Fast-Track EU Arrests
by Anton LaGuardia
The Daily Telegraph
2nd January 2004, p. 8.
The new European arrest warrant came into force yesterday,
allowing British citizens to be extradited under a fast
track process even if their actions do not constitute
an offence in Britain.
The scheme initially applies to only seven countries
but will later expand to include all EU members.
There has been widespread concern that British citizens'
right to a fair trial will be endangered by the removal
of many of the previous extradition safeguards.
These fears will be magnified after May, when the European
Union admits 10 new members -- mostly former communist
countries in central and eastern Europe.
"We are very worried about some of the accession countries,"
said Stephen Jakobi, director of the lobby group Fair
Trials Abroad. "Poland and Hungary have good standards,
but the impression we are getting is that there are a
lot of problems with corruption in the judicial systems
of some of the incoming states."
Many of the new members have come under attack from the
for the desperately slow pace of justice.
David Davis, the shadow home secretary, told The Daily
Telegraph, "It is ludicrous that people can be extradited
for an action that may not be an offence in this country.
The more countries that become involved, some having only
a short acquaintance with democracy, the more serious
the problem becomes."
The new warrant -- rushed through as an anti-terrorist
response to September 11 attacks on America -- is seen
by the Home Office as an important step in preventing
criminals escaping justice by going to another country.
But it has had a faltering start. Only eight countries
of the current 15 EU states have so far adopted it in
time for the launch yesterday: Britain, Belgium, Denmark,
Finland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. The Government
hopes the rest will join by Easter.
The Government argues that the warrant will speed up
the cumbersome extradition process while ensuring that
a suspect's basic rights -- including a limited right
of appeal to the House of Lords -- are protected by British
In particular, it says that the European warrant will
deny fugitives from British justice a safe haven in states
that previously refused to extradite their own citizens
-- including Denmark, France, Germany, Greece and Luxembourg.
But critics argue that the central assumption of the
new warrant - that the justice systems in all European
countries are equally fair -- is deeply flawed.
Mr Jakobi describes a "two-tier" system of justice in
Europe, based on the experience of more than 1,000 cases
taken up by Fair Trials Abroad. He places Britain, Scandinavian
countries, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Ireland
in the "top group" of states where a European arrest warrant
could work well.
But he maintains that in other countries -- including
France, Belgium, Spain and Greece -- a foreigner is almost
always convicted regardless of the evidence.
The European arrest warrant extends well beyond terrorist-related
cases to all offences that carry a sentence of a year
or more in the country seeking an extradition. Many of
the offences, such as murder, grievous bodily injury,
rape arson, armed robbery, kidnapping, racketeering and
trafficking in drugs or weapons are uncontroversial.
But there are also ambiguous crimes such as racism and
xenophobia, that are interpreted differently in different
The most significant change is the abolition in most
cases of "dual criminality" -- the requirement that a
person can only be extradited for an action to be considered
an offence in both the country seeking extradition and
the country being asked to surrender a suspect.
Britons face extradition
for 'thought crime' on net
by Philip Johnston, Home Affairs Editor
The Daily Telegraph
18th February 2003, pp.1+2.
British citizens will be extradited for what critics
have called a "thought crime" under a new European arrest
warrant, the Government has conceded.
Campaigners fear they could even face trial for broadcasting
"xenophobic or racist" remarks -- such as denying the
Holocaust -- on an internet chatroom in another country.
The Government has undertaken that if such "offences"
take place in Britain the perpetrators would not be extradited
-- but it will be for the courts to decide the location
of the crime.
This opens up the prospect of a judge agreeing to extradite
someone whose observations, though made in Britain, were
broadcast exclusively in a country where they constitute
Legislation now before Parliament will make "xenophobia
and racism" one of 32 crimes for which the European arrest
warrant can be issued without the existing safeguard of
dual criminality. This requires that an extraditable offence
must also be a crime in the UK.
Alongside the arrest warrant, EU ministers are negotiating
a new directive to establish a common set of offences
to criminalise xenophobia and racism.
Countries such as Germany and Austria have crimes such
as denying the Holocaust which have no equivalent in Britain.
Under current laws, if a British citizen committed this
offence in Germany and returned to the UK, he could not
However, this will change when the arrest warrant becomes
law next year. Lord Filkin, the Home Office minister,
told MPs: "If someone went to Germany and stood up in
Cologne market place and shouted the odds, denying the
Holocaust, and then came back [to Britain], they would
be subject to extradition under the European arrest warrant."
Holocaust denial laws are in place in seven EU countries
but they would be a big departure for Britain, where a
risk of fomenting public disorder is needed before a thought
becomes a crime.
A German historian who claimed that Auschwitz prisoners
enjoyed cinemas, a swimming pool and brothels was sentenced
to 10 months in jail.
Lord Filkin has insisted that no one would be extradited
"in respect of conduct which has occurred here and which
is legal here". But when he was asked by the European
scrutiny committee of the House of Commons whether comments
originating in Britain but carried abroad on television
or through an internet chatroom would be extraditable,
he said: "It will be for the courts to decide."
While he was adamant that a British citizen would not
be extradited for a xenophobia or racism offence if part
of the conduct took place in the UK, the committee asked
whether this principle would be made clear in the Extradition
Bill now before Parliament.
The proposed EU directive would extend the offences of
racism and xenophobia to include discrimination on the
grounds of religious conviction -- something that was
dropped by the Government more than a year ago following
Britain has negotiated a deal under which the offences
will only apply when they involve incitement to violence.
Lord Filkin said this was in line with current UK race
However, Britain has been forced to concede a review
after two years at which point the directive could be
extended to opinions that are simply considered offensive
and not just those likely to incite violence. Agreement
on the directive has been held up because some EU countries
want a "low threshold for criminality on these issues".
Philip Duly, campaign manager for the Freedom Association,
said the Government should protect citizens from extradition
for what he called "thought crimes".
He added: "The Government has previously maintained that
no one will be extradited for conduct which is not a crime
in the UK. But here we have Lord Filkin admitting that
there are circumstances which will be decided not by ministers
but by courts."