Research Handbooks in European Law series
Edited by Valsamis Mitsilegas, Maria Bergström and Theodore Konstadinides
Chapter 9: The principle of ne bis in idem in Europe’s Area of Freedom, Security and Justice
The principle of ne bis in idem or the prohibition of double jeopardy forbids prosecuting and punishing the same person for identical acts more than once. It is a long-standing principle enshrined in several legal instruments. It is embedded in domestic law, where it is sometimes granted constitutional status. It is also explicitly included in numerous international, regional as well as bilateral instruments. It can, for instance, be found in the main human rights texts, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) (Article 14(7)), in Protocol No. 7 to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) (Article 4(1)), in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (‘Charter’) (Article 50), as well as in the Statutes of the international criminal courts. It is also enshrined in instruments of judicial cooperation in criminal matters, such as those adopted in the framework of the Council of Europe or within the European Union (including the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement (CISA)), as well as in bilateral cooperation treaties. Certain instruments of judicial cooperation in criminal matters include the principle of ne bis in idem among the mandatory or optional grounds for refusing cooperation. This is the case, inter alia, of the European Convention on Extradition of 13 December 1957 (Article 9), its Additional Protocol of 15 October 1975 (Article 2) and most of the EU’s mutual recognition instruments.
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