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Document 62005CJ0150

Резюме на решението

Решение на Съда (първи състав) от 28 септември 2006 г.
Jean Leon Van Straaten срещу Staat der Nederlanden и Republiek Italië.
Искане за преюдициално заключение: Rechtbank 's-Hertogenbosch - Нидерландия.
Дело C-150/05.

Keywords
Summary

Keywords

1. Preliminary rulings – Jurisdiction of the Court – Limits

(Art. 234 EC)

2. Preliminary rulings – Jurisdiction of the Court – Limits

(Art. 234 EC)

3. European Union – Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters – Protocol integrating the Schengen acquis – Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement – Ne bis in idem principle

(Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement, Art. 54)

4. European Union – Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters – Protocol integrating the Schengen acquis – Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement – Ne bis in idem principle

(Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement, Art. 54)

Summary

1. In the context of the cooperation between the Court of Justice and national courts that is provided for by Article 234 EC, it is solely for the national court before which the dispute has been brought, and which must assume responsibility for the subsequent judicial decision, to determine in the light of the particular circumstances of the case both the need for a preliminary ruling in order to enable it to deliver judgment and the relevance of the questions which it submits to the Court. Consequently, where the questions submitted concern the interpretation of Community law, the Court is, in principle, bound to give a ruling.

The Court may refuse to rule on a question referred for a preliminary ruling by a national court only where it is quite obvious that the interpretation of Community law that is sought bears no relation to the actual facts of the main action or its purpose, where the problem is hypothetical, or where the Court does not have before it the factual or legal material necessary to give a useful answer to the questions submitted to it.

(see paras 33-34)

2. Although the Court has no jurisdiction under Article 234 EC to apply a rule of Community law to a particular case and thus to judge a provision of national law by reference to such a rule, it may, in the framework of the judicial cooperation provided for by that article and on the basis of the material presented to it, provide the national court with an interpretation of Community law which may be useful to it in assessing the effects of the provision in question.

(see para. 37)

3. Article 54 of the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement must be interpreted as meaning that the relevant criterion for the purposes of the application of that article is identity of the material acts, understood as the existence of a set of facts which are inextricably linked together, irrespective of the legal classification given to them or the legal interest protected.

In the case of offences relating to narcotic drugs, first, the quantities of the drug that are at issue in the two Contracting States concerned or the persons alleged to have been party to the acts in the two States are not required to be identical. It is therefore possible that a situation in which such identity is lacking involves a set of facts which, by their very nature, are inextricably linked. Second, punishable acts consisting of exporting and of importing the same narcotic drugs and which are prosecuted in different Contracting States party to the Convention are, in principle, to be regarded as ‘the same acts’ for the purposes of Article 54 of the Convention, the definitive assessment in that respect being the task of the competent national courts.

(see paras 48-51, 53, operative part 1)

4. The ne bis in idem principle, enshrined in Article 54 of the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement, a provision which has the objective of ensuring that no one is prosecuted for the same acts in several Contracting States on account of the fact that he exercises his right to freedom of movement, falls to be applied in respect of a decision of the judicial authorities of a Contracting State by which the accused is acquitted finally for lack of evidence.

The main clause of the single sentence comprising Article 54 of the Convention makes no reference to the content of the judgment that has become final. It is only in the subordinate clause that Article 54 refers to the case of a conviction by stating that, in that situation, the prohibition of a prosecution is subject to a specific condition. If the general rule laid down in the main clause were applicable only to judgments convicting the accused, it would be superfluous to provide that the special rule is applicable in the event of conviction.

Furthermore, not to apply Article 54 of the Convention to a final decision acquitting the accused for lack of evidence would have the effect of jeopardising exercise of the right to freedom of movement.

Finally, in the case of a final acquittal for lack of evidence, the bringing of criminal proceedings in another Contracting State for the same acts would undermine the principles of legal certainty and of the protection of legitimate expectations. The accused would have to fear a fresh prosecution in another Contracting State although a case in respect of the same acts has been finally disposed of.

(see paras 56-59, 61, operative part 2)

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