European Union Court of Justice declared in today’s judgement in Case C-435/22 PPU that Member States are not to extradite a person to another country if that national has already been convicted by final judgment in another Member State for the same acts as those referred to in the extradition request. This applies regardless of whether or not the stay in the extraditing country is lawful. As indicates opinion of the attorney general of 13 October 2022 “a decision on the lawfulness of an extradition which results in the surrender of the person concerned to a third State with a view to his or her prosecution must also be regarded as ‘prosecution’.”
Notably this judgement also limits the application of bilateral extradition treaties in force in the EU Member States, contributing further to the development of the notion of the autonomy of the EU legal order. The court indicates that the national courts must disapply, of their own motion, any provision of that treaty which is incompatible with the principle of non bis in idem.
Thirdly this CJEU decision constitutes an important development of the general prohibition of double jeopardy which is stays in focus of ReLex Law Firm. Article 31(5) of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania enshrines the principle of non bis in idem. This constitutional principle implies the prohibition to punish a second time for the same act contrary to the law, i.e. for the same offence, as well as for the same offence which is not a crime (Constitutional Court rulings of 7 May 2001, 2 October 2001, 13 December 2004, 29 December 2004, 10 November 2005, 16 January 2006, 21 January 2008, 8 June 2009 and 15 March 2017). Development of the doctrine was influenced by the Judgement of the ECHR of 13 June 2017 in case Šimkus v. Lithuania (No. 41788/11) where the violation of the right established by the Article 4 of Protocol 7 of the ECHR as confirmed when criminal proceedings were opened relating to the same offence for which the plaintiff had been given an administrative penalty.