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European Observer on fundamental right's respect

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Notes & Comments (04/01/2011) - The European ne bis in idem

Title: The European ne bis in idem

Date: 01/04/2011

Subject: The principle of ne bis in idem is a fundamental principle of law, which bars prosecution, trial and punishment repeatedly for the same offence. Although it has long been regarded as an undisputed rule of domestic criminal justice, the principle is not recognised at international level. However, the traditional non application of the ne bis in idem has been progressively questioned on the basis of legal consequences deriving from some international conventions and the statutes of international criminal law tribunals. The principle is couched in various terms according to the international, regional or national instrument we focus on, since different rationale underpin it. The ne bis in idem has been developed in EU law from a domestic into a transnational fundamental right and represents a truly European added value in comparison to international law. In this article I will concentrate on the ne bis in idem rules which exist within the frameworks of the European Union and the Council of Europe in order to verify whether and where there is evidence of the emergence of such a truly European principle.

Original language: English

Classification: Justice - Art. 50 Right not to be tried or punished twice in criminal proceedings for the same criminal offence

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