The member States of the Council of Europe, signatory hereto,
Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is the achievement of greater unity
between its members;
Desiring to supplement the work which they have already accomplished in the field of
criminal law with a view to arriving at more just and efficient sanctions;
Considering it useful to this end to ensure, in a spirit of mutual confidence, the
organisation of criminal proceedings on the international level, in particular, by
avoiding the disadvantages resulting from conflicts of competence,
Have agreed as follows:
Part I Definitions
For the purposes of this Convention:
- "offence" comprises acts dealt with under the criminal law and those dealt
with under the legal provisions listed in Appendix III to this Convention on condition
that where an administrative authority is competent to deal with the offence it must be
possible for the person concerned to have the case tried by a court;
- "sanction" means any punishment or other measure incurred or pronounced in
respect of an offence or in respect of a violation of the legal provisions listed in
Part II Competence
- For the purposes of applying this Convention, any Contracting State shall have
competence to prosecute under its own criminal law any offence to which the law of another
Contracting State is applicable.
- The competence conferred on a Contracting State exclusively by virtue of paragraph 1 of
this Article may be exercised only pursuant to a request for proceedings presented by
another Contracting State.
Any Contracting State having competence under its own law to prosecute an offence may,
for the purposes of applying this Convention, waive or desist from proceedings against a
suspected person who is being or will be prosecuted for the same offence by another
Contracting State. Having regard to Article 21, paragraph 2, any such decision to waive or
to desist from proceedings shall be provisional pending a final decision in the other
The requested State shall discontinue proceedings exclusively grounded on Article 2
when to its knowledge the right of punishment is extinguished under the law of the
requesting State for a reason other than time-limitation, to which Articles 10.c, 11.f and
g, 22, 23 and 26 in particular apply.
The provisions of Part III of this Convention do not limit the competence given to a
requested State by its municipal law in regard to prosecutions.
Part III Transfer of proceedings
Section 1 Request for proceedings
- When a person is suspected of having committed an offence under the law of a Contracting
State, that State may request another Contracting State to take proceedings in the cases
and under the conditions provided for in this Convention.
- If under the provisions of this Convention a Contracting State may request another
Contracting State to take proceedings, the competent authorities of the first State shall
take that possibility into consideration.
- Proceedings may not be taken in the requested State unless the offence in respect of
which the proceedings are requested would be an offence if committed in its territory and
when, under these circumstances, the offender would be liable to sanction under its own
- If the offence was committed by a person of public status or against a person, an
institution or any thing of public status in the requesting State, it shall be considered
in the requested State as having been committed by a person of public status or against
such a person, an institution or any thing corresponding, in the latter State, to that
against which it was actually committed.
- A Contracting State may request another Contracting State to take proceedings in any one
or more of the following cases:
- if the suspected person is ordinarily resident in the requested State;
- if the suspected person is a national of the requested State or if that State is his
State of origin;
- if the suspected person is undergoing or is to undergo a sentence involving deprivation
of liberty in the requested State;
- if proceedings for the same or other offences are being taken against the suspected
person in the requested State;
- if it considers that transfer of the proceedings is warranted in the interests of
arriving at the truth and in particular that the most important items of evidence are
located in the requested State;
- if it considers that the enforcement in the requested State of a sentence if one were
passed is likely to improve the prospects for the social rehabilitation of the person
- if it considers that the presence of the suspected person cannot be ensured at the
hearing of proceedings in the requesting State and that his presence in person at the
hearing of proceedings in the requested State can be ensured;
- if it considers that it could not itself enforce a sentence if one were passed, even by
having recourse to extradition, and that the requested State could do so;
- Where the suspected person has been finally sentenced in a Contracting State, that State
may request the transfer of proceedings in one or more of the cases referred to in
paragraph 1 of this article only if it cannot itself enforce the sentence, even by having
recourse to extradition, and if the other Contracting State does not accept enforcement of
a foreign judgment as a matter of principle or refuses to enforce such sentence.
- The competent authorities in the requested State shall examine the request for
proceedings made in pursuance of the preceding articles. They shall decide, in accordance
with their own law, what action to take thereon.
- Where the law of the requested State provides for the punishment of the offence by an
administrative authority, that State shall, as soon as possible, so inform the requesting
State unless the requested State has made a declaration under paragraph 3 of this article.
- Any Contracting State may at the time of signature, or when depositing its instrument of
ratification, acceptance or accession, or at any later date indicate, by declaration
addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the conditions under which
its domestic law permits the punishment of certain offences by an administrative
authority. Such a declaration shall replace the notification envisaged in paragraph 2 of
The requested State shall not take action on the request:
- if the request does not comply with the provisions of Articles 6, paragraph 1, and 7,
- if the institution of proceedings is contrary to the provisions of Article 35;
- if, at the date on the request, the time-limit for criminal proceedings has already
expired in the requesting State under the legislation of that State.
Save as provided for in Article 10 the requested State may not refuse acceptance of the
request in whole or in part, except in any one or more of the following cases:
- if it considers that the grounds on which the request is based under Article 8 are not
- if the suspected person is not ordinarily resident in the requested State;
- if the suspected person is not a national of the requested State and was not ordinarily
resident in the territory of that State at the time of the offence;
- if it considers that the offence for which proceedings are requested is an offence of a
political nature or a purely military or fiscal one;
- if it considers that there are substantial grounds for believing that the request for
proceedings was motivated by considerations of race, religion, nationality or political
- if its own law is already applicable to the offence and if at the time of the receipt of
the request proceedings were precluded by lapse of time according to that law; Article 26,
paragraph 2, shall not apply in such a case;
- if its competence is exclusively grounded on Article 2 and if at the time of the receipt
of the request proceedings would be precluded by lapse of time according to its law, the
prolongation of the time-limit by six months under the terms of Article 23 being taken
- if the offence was committed outside the territory of the requesting State;
- if proceedings would be contrary to the international undertakings of the requested
- if proceedings would be contrary to the fundamental principles of the legal system of
the requested State;
- if the requesting State has violated a rule of procedure laid down in this Convention.
- The requested State shall withdraw its acceptance of the request if, subsequent to this
acceptance, a ground mentioned in Article 10 of this Convention for not taking action on
the request becomes apparent.
- The requested State may withdraw its acceptance of the request:
- if it becomes apparent that the presence in person of the suspected person cannot be
ensured at the hearing of the proceedings in that State or that any sentence, which might
be passed, could not be enforced in that State;
- if one of the grounds for refusal mentioned in Article 11 becomes apparent before the
case is brought before a court; or
- in other cases, if the requesting State agrees.
Section 2 Transfer procedure
- All requests specified in this Convention shall be made in writing. They, and all
communications necessary for the application of this Convention, shall be sent either by
the Ministry of Justice of the requesting State to the Ministry of Justice of the
requested State or, by virtue of special mutual arrangements, direct by the authorities of
the requesting State to those of the requested State; they shall be returned by the same
- In urgent cases, requests and communications may be sent through the International
Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol).
- Any Contracting State may, by declaration addressed to the Secretary General of the
Council of Europe, give notice of its intention to adopt in so far as it itself is
concerned rules of transmission other than those laid down in paragraph 1 of this article.
If a Contracting State considers that the information supplied by another Contracting
State is not adequate to enable it to apply this Convention, it shall ask for the
necessary additional information. It may prescribe a date for the receipt of such
- A request for proceedings shall be accompanied by the original, or a certified copy, of
the criminal file and all other necessary documents. However, if the suspected person is
remanded in custody in accordance with the provisions of Section 5 and if the requesting
State is unable to transmit these documents at the same time as the request for
proceedings, the documents may be sent subsequently.
- The requesting State shall also inform the requested State in writing of any procedural
acts performed or measures taken in the requesting State after the transmission of the
request which have a bearing on the proceedings. This communication shall be accompanied
by any relevant documents.
- The requested State shall promptly communicate its decision on the request for
proceedings to the requesting State.
- The requested State shall also inform the requesting State of a waiver of proceedings or
of the decision taken as a result of proceedings. A certified copy of any written decision
shall be transmitted to the requesting State.
If the competence of the requested State is exclusively grounded on Article 2 that
State shall inform the suspected person of the request for proceedings with a view to
allowing him to present his views on the matter before that State has taken a decision on
- Subject to paragraph 2 of this article, no translation of the documents relating to the
application of this Convention shall be required.
- Any Contracting State may, at the time of signature or when depositing its instrument of
ratification, acceptance or accession, by declaration addressed to the Secretary General
of the Council of Europe, reserve the right to require that, with the exception of the
copy of the written decision referred to in Article 16, paragraph 2, the said documents be
accompanied by a translation. The other Contracting States shall send the translations in
either the national language of the receiving State or such one of the official languages
of the Council of Europe as the receiving State shall indicate. However, such an
indication is not obligatory. The other Contracting States may claim reciprocity.
- This article shall be without prejudice to any provisions concerning translation of
requests and supporting documents that may be contained in agreements or arrangements now
in force or that may be concluded between two or more Contracting States.
Documents transmitted in application of this Convention need not be authenticated.
Contracting Parties shall not claim from each other the refund of any expenses
resulting from the application of this Convention.
Section 3 Effects in the requesting State of a request for
- When the requesting State has requested proceedings, it can no longer prosecute the
suspected person for the offence in respect of which the proceedings have been requested
or enforce a judgment which has been pronounced previously in that State against him for
that offence. Until the requested State's decision on the request for proceedings has been
received, the requesting State shall, however, retain its right to take all steps in
respect of prosecution, short of bringing the case to trial, or, as the case may be,
allowing the competent administrative authority to decide on the case.
- The right of prosecution and of enforcement shall revert to the requesting State:
- if the requested State informs it of a decision in accordance with Article 10 not to
take action on the request;
- if the requested State informs it of a decision in accordance with Article 11 to refuse
acceptance of the request;
- if the requested State informs it of a decision in accordance with Article 12 to
withdraw acceptance of the request;
- if the requested State informs it of a decision not to institute proceedings or
- if it withdraws its request before the requested State has informed it of a decision to
take action on the request.
A request for proceedings, made in accordance with the provisions of this Part, shall
have the effect in the requesting State of prolonging the time-limit for proceedings by
Section 4 Effects in the requested State of a request for
If the competence of the requested State is exclusively grounded on Article 2 the
time-limit for proceedings in that State shall be prolonged by six months.
- If proceedings are dependent on a complaint in both States the complaint brought in the
requesting State shall have equal validity with that brought in the requested State.
- If a complaint is necessary only in the requested State, that State may take proceedings
even in the absence of a complaint if the person who is empowered to bring the complaint
has not objected within a period of one month from the date of receipt by him of notice
from the competent authority informing him of his right to object.
In the requested State the sanction applicable to the offence shall be that prescribed
by its own law unless that law provides otherwise. Where the competence of the requested
State is exclusively grounded on Article 2, the sanction pronounced in that State shall
not be more severe than that provided for in the law of the requesting State.
- Any act with a view to proceedings, taken in the requesting State in accordance with its
law and regulations, shall have the same validity in the requested State as if it had been
taken by the authorities of that State, provided that assimilation does not give such act
a greater evidential weight than it has in the requesting State.
- Any act which interrupts time-limitation and which has been validly performed in the
requesting State shall have the same effects in the requested State and vice versa.
Section 5 Provisional measures in the requested State
- When the requesting State announces its intention to transmit a request for proceedings,
and if the competence of the requested State would be exclusively grounded on Article 2,
the requested State may, on application by the requesting State and by virtue of this
Convention, provisionally arrest the suspected person:
- if the law of the requested State authorises remand in custody for the offence, and
- if there are reasons to fear that the suspected person will abscond or that he will
cause evidence to be suppressed.
- The application for provisional arrest shall state that there exists a warrant of arrest
or other order having the same effect, issued in accordance with the procedure laid down
in the law of the requesting State; it shall also state for what offence proceedings will
be requested and when and where such offence was committed and it shall contain as
accurate a description of the suspected person as possible. It shall also contain a brief
statement of the circumstances of the case.
- An application for provisional arrest shall be sent direct by the authorities in the
requesting State mentioned in Article 13 to the corresponding authorities in the requested
State, by post or telegram or by any other means affording evidence in writing or accepted
by the requested State. The requesting State shall be informed without delay of the result
of its application.
Upon receipt of a request for proceedings accompanied by the documents referred to in
Article 15, paragraph 1, the requested State shall have jurisdiction to apply all such
provisional measures, including remand in custody of the suspected person and seizure of
property, as could be applied under its own law if the offence in respect of which
proceedings are requested had been committed in its territory.
- The provisional measures provided in Articles 27 and 28 shall be governed by the
provisions of this Convention and the law of the requested State. The law of that State,
or the Convention shall also determine the conditions on which the measures may lapse.
- These measures shall lapse in the cases referred to in Article 21, paragraph 2.
- A person in custody shall in any event be released if he is arrested in pursuance of
Article 27 and the requested State does not receive the request for proceedings within 18
days from the date of the arrest.
- A person in custody shall in any event be released if he is arrested in pursuance of
Article 27 and the documents which should accompany the request for proceedings have not
been received by the requested State within 15 days from the receipt of the request for
- The period of custody applied exclusively by virtue of Article 27 shall not in any event
exceed 40 days.
Part IV Plurality of criminal proceedings
- Any Contracting State which, before the institution or in the course of proceedings for
an offence which it considers to be neither of a political nature nor a purely military
one, is aware of proceedings pending in another Contracting State against the same person
in respect of the same offence shall consider whether it can either waive or suspend its
own proceedings, or transfer them to the other State.
- If it deems it advisable in the circumstances not to waive or suspend its own
proceedings it shall so notify the other State in good time and in any event before
judgment is given on the merits.
- In the eventuality referred to in Article 30, paragraph 2, the States concerned shall
endeavour as far as possible to determine, after evaluation in each of the circumstances
mentioned in Article 8, which of them alone shall continue to conduct proceedings. During
this consultative procedure the States concerned shall postpone judgment on the merits
without however being obliged to prolong such postponement beyond a period of 30 days as
from the despatch of the notification provided for in Article 30, paragraph 2.
- The provisions of paragraph 1 shall not be binding:
- on the State despatching the notification provided for in Article 30, paragraph 2, if
the main trial has been declared open there in the presence of the accused before despatch
of the notification;
- on the State to which the notification is addressed, if the main trial has been declared
open there in the presence of the accused before receipt of the notification.
In the interests of arriving at the truth and with a view to the application of an
appropriate sanction, the States concerned shall examine whether it is expedient that one
of them alone shall conduct proceedings and, if so, endeavour to determine which one,
- several offences which are materially distinct and which fall under the criminal law of
each of those States are ascribed either to a single person or to several persons having
acted in unison;
- a single offence which falls under the criminal law of each of those States is ascribed
to several persons having acted in unison.
All decisions reached in accordance with Articles 31, paragraph 1, and 32 shall entail,
as between the States concerned, all the consequences of a transfer of proceedings as
provided for in this Convention. The State which waives its own proceedings shall be
deemed to have transferred them to the other State.
The transfer procedure provided for in Section 2 of Part III shall apply in so far as
its provisions are compatible with those contained in the present Part.
Part V Ne bis in idem
- A person in respect of whom a final and enforceable criminal judgment has been rendered
may for the same act neither be prosecuted nor sentenced nor subjected to enforcement of a
sanction in another Contracting State:
- if he was acquitted;
- if the sanction imposed:
- has been completely enforced or is being enforced, or
- has been wholly, or with respect to the part not enforced, the subject of a pardon or an
- can no longer be enforced because of lapse of time;
- if the court convicted the offender without imposing a sanction.
- Nevertheless, a Contracting State shall not, unless it has itself requested the
proceedings, be obliged to recognise the effect of ne bis in idem if the act which
gave rise to the judgment was directed against either a person or an institution or any
thing having public status in that State, or if the subject of the judgment had himself a
public status in that State.
- Furthermore, a Contracting State where the act was committed or considered as such
according to the law of that State shall not be obliged to recognise the effect of ne
bis in idem unless that State has itself requested the proceedings.
If new proceedings are instituted against a person who in another Contracting State has
been sentenced for the same act, then any period of deprivation of liberty arising from
the sentence enforced shall be deducted from the sanction which may be imposed.
This Part shall not prevent the application of wider domestic provisions relating to
the effect of ne bis in idem attached to foreign criminal judgments.
Part VI Final clauses
- This Convention shall be open to signature by the member States of the Council of
Europe. It shall be subject to ratification or acceptance. Instruments of ratification or
acceptance shall be deposited with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
- This Convention shall enter into force three months after the date of the deposit of the
third instrument of ratification or acceptance.
- In respect of a signatory State ratifying or accepting subsequently, the Convention
shall come into force three months after the date of the deposit of its instrument of
ratification or acceptance.
- After the entry into force of this Convention, the Committee of Ministers of the Council
of Europe may invite any non-member State to accede thereto provided that the resolution
containing such invitation received the unanimous agreement of the Members of the Council
who have ratified the Convention.
- Such accession shall be effected by depositing with the Secretary General of the Council
of Europe an instrument of accession which shall take effect three months after the date
of its deposit.
- Any Contracting State may, at the time of signature or when depositing its instrument of
ratification, acceptance or accession, specify the territory or territories to which this
Convention shall apply.
- Any Contracting State may, when depositing its instrument of ratification, acceptance or
accession or at any later date, by declaration addressed to the Secretary General of the
Council of Europe, extend this Convention to any other territory or territories specified
in the declaration and for whose international relations it is responsible or on whose
behalf it is authorised to give undertakings.
- Any declaration made in pursuance of the preceding paragraph may, in respect of any
territory mentioned in such declaration, be withdrawn according to the procedure laid down
in Article 45 of this Convention.
- Any Contracting State may, at the time of signature or when depositing its instrument of
ratification, acceptance or accession, declare that it avails itself of one or more of the
reservations provided for in Appendix I or make a declaration provided for in Appendix II
to this Convention.
- Any Contracting State may wholly or partly withdraw a reservation or declaration it has
made in accordance with the foregoing paragraph by means of a declaration addressed to the
Secretary General of the Council of Europe which shall become effective as from the date
of its receipt.
- A Contracting State which has made a reservation in respect of any provision of this
Convention may not claim the application of that provision by any other Contracting State;
it may, however, if its reservation is partial or conditional, claim the application of
that provision in so far as it has itself accepted it.
- Any Contracting State may at any time, by declaration addressed to the Secretary General
of the Council of Europe, set out the legal provisions to be included in Appendix III to
- Any change of the national provisions listed in Appendix III shall be notified to the
Secretary General of the Council of Europe if such a change renders the information in
this appendix incorrect.
- Any changes made in Appendix III in application of the preceding paragraphs shall take
effect in each Contracting State one month after the date of their notification by the
Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
- This Convention affects neither the rights and the undertakings derived from extradition
treaties and international multilateral conventions concerning special matters, nor
provisions concerning matters which are dealt with in the present Convention and which are
contained in other existing conventions between Contracting States.
- The Contracting States may not conclude bilateral or multilateral agreements with one
another on the matters dealt with in this Convention, except in order to supplement its
provisions or facilitate application of the principles embodied in it.
- Should two or more Contracting States, however, have already established their relations
in this matter on the basis of uniform legislation, or instituted a special system of
their own, or should they in future do so, they shall be entitled to regulate those
relations accordingly, notwithstanding the terms of this Convention.
- Contracting States ceasing to apply the terms of this Convention to their mutual
relations in this matter in accordance with the provisions of the preceding paragraph
shall notify the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to that effect.
The European Committee on Crime Problems of the Council of Europe shall be kept
informed regarding the application of this Convention and shall do whatever is needful to
facilitate a friendly settlement of any difficulty which may arise out of its execution.
- This Convention shall remain in force indefinitely.
- Any Contracting State may, in so far as it is concerned, denounce this Convention by
means of a notification addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
- Such denunciation shall take effect six months after the date of receipt by the
Secretary General of such notification.
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe shall notify the member States of the
Council and any State which has acceded to this Convention of:
- any signature;
- any deposit of an instrument of ratification, acceptance or accession;
- any date of entry into force of this Convention in accordance with Article 38 thereof;
- any declaration received in pursuance of the provisions of Article 9, paragraph 3;
- any declaration received in pursuance of the provisions of Article 13, paragraph 3;
- any declaration received in pursuance of the provisions of Article 18, paragraph 2;
- any declaration received in pursuance of the provisions of Article 40, paragraphs 2 and
- any reservation or declaration made in pursuance of the provisions of Article 41,
- the withdrawal of any reservation or declaration carried out in pursuance of the
provisions of Article 41, paragraph 2;
- any declaration received in pursuance of Article 42, paragraph 1, and any subsequent
notification received in pursuance of paragraph 2 of that article;
- any notification received in pursuance of the provisions of Article 43, paragraph 4;
- any notification received in pursuance of the provisions of Article 45 and the date on
which denunciation takes effect.
This Convention and the notifications and declarations authorised thereunder shall
apply only to offences committed after the Convention comes into effect for the
Contracting States involved.
In witness whereof, the undersigned, being duly authorised thereto, have signed this
Done at Strasbourg, this 15th day of May, 1972, in English and in French, both texts being
equally authoritative, in a single copy, which shall remain deposited in the archives of
the Council of Europe. The Secretary General shall transmit certified copies to each of
the signatory and acceding governments.
Each Contracting State may declare that it reserves the right:
- to refuse a request for proceedings, if it considers that the offence is a purely
- to refuse a request for proceedings for an act the sanctions for which, in accordance
with its own law, can be imposed only by an administrative authority;
- not to accept Article 22;
- not to accept Article 23;
- not to accept the provisions contained in the second sentence of Article 25 for
- not to accept the provisions laid down in Article 26, paragraph 2, where it is competent
by virtue of its own law;
- not to apply Articles 30 and 31 in respect of an act for which the sanctions, in
accordance with its own law or that of the other State concerned, can be imposed only by
an administrative authority;
- not to accept Part V.
Any Contracting State may declare that for reasons arising out of its constitutional
law it can make or receive requests for proceedings only in circumstances specified in its
Any Contracting State may, by means of a declaration, define as far as it is concerned the
term "national" within the meaning of this Convention.
List of offences other than offences dealt with under criminal law
The following offences shall be assimilated to offences under criminal law :
any unlawful behaviour sanctioned by a contravention de grande voirie.
in the Federal Republic of Germany:
any unlawful behaviour dealt with according to the procedure laid down in the Act of
Violations of Regulations (Gesetz über Ordnungswidrigkeiten of 24 May 1968 BGBl.
1968, I, 481).
any unlawful behaviour to which is applicable Act No. 317 of 3 March 1967.