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, 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;
– punishable acts consisting of exporting and of importing the same narcotic drugs and which are prosecuted in different Contracting States party to that 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.
The ne bis in idem principle, enshrined in Article 54 of that Convention, 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.
Case Number C-150/05
Name of the parties Jean Leon Van Straaten v Staat der Nederlanden and Republiek Italië.
Date of the judgement 2006-09-28
Court Court of Justice of the European Communities (ECEJ)