20-04-2021 Post Miguel Ángel

FIA’s International Tribunal Case IT-2021-01, and the “ne bis in idem” principle in motor sport

Yesterday, the FIA’s International Tribunal ​​made a decision, seven months later, regarding the case of the kart driver, Luca Corberi. To make a brief summary, during the first days of October last year, the KZ Karting World Championship was held at the South Garda karting circuit in Lonato (Italy). During this event, Luca Corberi was pushed off the track by another driver. And then Corberi, from off-track, disassembled the front fairing of the kart and got into the track as the race continued, throwing the fairing at the driver who had taken him off-track. And, at the end of the event, he waited in the parc fermé to attack his rival, which started a fight between both drivers and their parents.

The point is that, regardless of personal opinion about the sanction (15 years of suspension and prohibition to participate, either as a driver or in any other condition, in any competition organized directly or indirectly by the FIA ​​or the attached ASN’s), one of Corberi’s grounds of opposition to the reasons for the accusation of the FIA ​​before the International Tribunal, consists in opposing the legal principle “ne bis in idem”, as the Respondent indicates that the Italian Disciplinary Authorities have already made a decision in relation to the same acts of which the FIA ​​accuses him before the International Tribunal.

The question then is: is the “ne bis in idem” principle applicable in a sports disciplinary procedure in motor sport?

First of all, the International Tribunal insists that the Italian Disciplinary Authorities have not yet decided on the case, therefore there is no prior resolution in this regard. Secondly, according to the FIA ​​Judicial and Disciplinary Rules, no proceedings opened before a national court can exclude the powers of the FIA jurisdictions. In third place, that the application of the “ne bis in idem” principle is conditional on the identity of the facts being prosecuted; the existence of two proceedings of a criminal nature in the sense of the European Convention on Human Rights before the Courts of the same State; and the existence of a final decision. Fourthly, and finally, since French law is applied in a subsidiary way in cases before the International Court, in accordance with that law, the “ne bis in idem” principle also applies to disciplinary matters and not only to criminal matters.

Therefore, and in accordance with the foregoing, the International Tribunal understands that the “ne bis in idem” principle has a place in its scope of prosecution, although, in this case it is not applicable.

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