Article 54 of the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement (ne bis in idem) 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;
– different acts consisting, in particular, first, in holding in one Contracting State the proceeds of drug trafficking and, second, in the exchanging at exchange bureaux in another Contracting State of sums of money also originating from such trafficking should not be regarded as ‘the same acts’ within the meaning of Article 54 of the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement merely because the competent national court finds that those acts are linked together by the same criminal intention;
– it is for that national court to assess whether the degree of identity and connection between all the facts to be compared is such that it is possible, in the light of the said relevant abovementioned criterion, to find that they are ‘the same acts’ within the meaning of Article 54 of the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement.
Case Number C-367/05
Name of the parties Criminal proceedings against Norma Kraaijenbrink.
Date of the judgement 2007-07-18
Court Court of Justice of the European Communities (ECEJ)