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CJEU Case C-634/18 / Opinion

Criminal proceedings against JI.

Policy area:
Justice, freedom and security
Deciding Body type:
Court of Justice of the European Union
Deciding Body:
Advocate General
Type:
Opinion
Decision date:
22/01/2020

Key facts of the case:

Reference for a preliminary ruling — Judicial cooperation in criminal matters — Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA — Minimum provisions on the constituent elements of criminal acts and penalties involving illicit drug trafficking — Article 2(1)(c) — Article 4(2)(a) — Concept of ‘large quantities of drugs’ — Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union — Equal treatment — Articles 20 and 21 — Principle of legality of criminal offences and penalties — Article 49.

Outcome of the case:

In the light of all the foregoing considerations, I suggest that the Court should answer the questions posed by the Sąd Rejonowy w Słupsku — XIV Wydział Karny (District Court of Słupsk (XIV Criminal Division), Poland) as follows:

  • Article 2(1)(c) and (2) and Article 4(2)(a) of Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA of 25 October 2004 laying down minimum provisions on the constituent elements of criminal acts and penalties in the field of illicit drug trafficking do not preclude Member States from extending criminal liability for the aggravated offence related to possession of large quantities of drugs for trafficking, as defined thereunder, to possession of drugs outwith the scope of the offences listed in that Framework Decision.
  • The interpretation of Article 4(2)(a) of Framework Decision 2004/757, in the light of the principles of equality, non-discrimination and legality of criminal offences and penalties, does not preclude a situation where the term transposing ‘large quantities of drugs’ into national law is not defined by the legislature but is clarified by means of interpretations in the case-law. That interpretation must, however, permit the person concerned to assess the existence and the extent of his criminal liability when found in possession of a certain quantity of drugs. A case-by-case interpretation of that concept by the national courts on the basis of a criterion which does not provide a reasonable degree of foreseeability and certainty is not compatible with the principle of legality of criminal offences and penalties enshrined in Article 49 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. It is for the national court to determine whether that is in fact the situation that pertains within its national legal order.