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(p. 491) 10. Article 7: Freedom from retroactive criminal offences and punishment 

(p. 491) 10. Article 7: Freedom from retroactive criminal offences and punishment
Chapter:
(p. 491) 10. Article 7: Freedom from retroactive criminal offences and punishment
Author(s):

David Harris

, Michael O’Boyle

, Ed Bates

, and Carla Buckley

DOI:
10.1093/he/9780198785163.003.0010
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date: 12 November 2019

This chapter discusses Article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which incorporates the principle of legality, by which, in the context of criminal law, a person should only be convicted and punished on a basis of law. Article 7 prohibits the retroactive application of criminal offences and of sentences imposed for them. The guarantee in Article 7 is an essential element of the rule of law, and has as its object and purpose the provision of effective safeguards against arbitrary conviction and punishment. An exception is allowed for offences that were contrary to general principles of law recognized by civilized nations.

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