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7 Gonz. J. Int'l L. 1 (2003-2004)

handle is hein.journals/gjil7 and id is 1 raw text is: THE NEED FOR A CHARTER OR BILL OF RIGHTS FOR GUIDANCE FOR THE
Dr. Donald D.A. Schaefer
This paper will argue that the recent changes in the European Union regarding
fundamental rights have not gone far enough in the direction of ensuring those
rights. After reviewing the changes made before the Treaty of Amsterdam, it will
next lay a foundation from which the more persuasive facts will allow a better
understanding of why human/fundamental rights are so central to the European
Court of Justice (ECJ). This court has the power to determine whether a Member
State has fulfilled its obligations under Community law, but it may do so only
with guidance in the form of European Union law which is, to date, lacking.
Though the 1999 Treaty of Nice allowed the introduction of the Charter of
Fundamental Rights of the European Union (Charter), not until it (or a Bill of
Rights) is passed will the ECJ finally have the legal framework to enforce
fundamental rights. This may soon occur, if the European Union Constitution
with the Charter embedded is finally ratified in 2004. Until such time as the
Charter (or Bill of Rights) becomes law, however, the European courts,
plaintiffs/prosecutors, and defendants will operate in uncertainty about when or
how the ECJ will rely upon the existing treaties or case law regarding
fundamental rights.
The purpose of this paper is to explore the changes regarding human-rights cases,
violations, and prosecutions brought before the European Court of Justice (ECJ)1 both
before and after the Treaty of Amsterdam went into force in 1999. It will also speculate
about future changes and their impact on the European human-rights landscape. The
paper will argue that while the changes have been positive, they have clearly not gone far
enough in the direction of protecting the human/fundamental rights of citizens of the
European Community (EC).2 In addition, there remains a degree of uncertainty as to the
future of the EC regarding rights for the accused. Until recently, Europe appeared headed

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