You are here:

Czech Republic / Constitutional Court / II. ÚS 143/16

Plaintiff: E.U.

Policy area:
Justice, freedom and security
Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding Body:
Constitutional Court
Type:
Decision
Decision date:
14/04/2016

Key facts of the case: 

The plaintiff, a Czech citizen living in Germany, was called to a court in the CR as a witness. After she testified, she was arrested by the Police and prosecuted for being a member of a criminal group that had been trafficking drugs from the CR to Germany. However, she had already been prosecuted and then sentenced and punished in Germany for some of those acts; for the remaining acts criminal proceedings had been abandoned. The Public Prosecutor’s Office (Státní zastupitelství) decided to keep her in custody while the criminal proceedings took place (but the plaintiff was not sentenced in CR). After exhausting all other legal options, she filed a constitutional complaint.

The plaintiff claimed that the CR breached the legal principle ‘ne bis in idem’, which is protected by Article 40 Paragraph 5 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Basic Freedoms No. 2/1993 Coll. (Listina základních práv a svobod) and by Articles 5 and 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. She also claimed a breach of Article 44 of Act No. 104/2013 Coll., on International Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters (Zákon o mezinárodní justiční spolupráci v trestních věcech).

The Police were aware that there a German court had issued a sentence against the plaintiff. However, they did not know that a decision had been made by a German prosecutor to abandon criminal proceedings on other acts. Therefore the Police wrongly started criminal proceedings for acts for which criminal proceedings had already been abandoned.

Outcome of the case: 

The Constitutional Court stated that Article 40 Paragraph 5 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Basic Freedoms No. 2/1993 Coll. (Listina základních práv a svobod) establishes the legal principle ‘ne bis in idem’ for the CR, Article 50 of the Charter establishes this principle for the whole EU. Therefore The Constitutional Court stated that the constitutional complaint is justified, the legal principle ‘ne bis in idem’ was breached, and the decisions of the authorities involved in the criminal proceedings were annulled.