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Keeping A(n) (Un)Fair Balance between the 'Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters' and Fundamental Rights: The Contributions of the Court of Justice of the European Union

Ilke Gocmen

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is one of the main actors contributing to the development of the 'Area of Freedom, Security and Justice' (AFSJ) in general and 'Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters' (JCCM) in particular. This contribution should be expected to increase in the coming years, because the CJEU has full jurisdiction over JCCM, since the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, albeit subject to some transitional provisions. Like all matters falling within the sphere of AFSJ, the matters dealt within JCCM raise frequently fundamental (human) rights concerns, such as the right to a fair trial and legality of criminal law.The CJEU has recognized and protected these fundamental (human) rights as general principles of European Union (EU) law. Besides, since the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union has the same legal value as the Founding Treaties and the EU attempts to accede to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Against this background it is to be expected that the CJEU will (continue to) contribute to the JCCM mainly on the grounds of protection of fundamental rights. Therefore, this paper aims to evaluate the (current and potential) contribution of the CJEU in the development of the JCCM among other actors of the EU (such as Commission, Council and/or European Parliament) with a specific focus on the protection of fundamental rights.

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