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International Fora and Legal Acts on Drugs

E.G. Gasanov

This and many other very interesting materials have been published in the book "Drug Abuse: Tendencies and Ways to Overcome It (based on materials of the Republic of Azerbaijan)" (Мoscow: "JurInfoR" Educational and Consulting Center, 1998)


Legal measures figure prominently in the system of actions aiming to combat drugs. It is precisely the legal acts that determine the object, the subject of narco-crime and influence the shaping of measures of preventive-educational and curative interference, as well as the range of drug-related actions, considered dangerous to the public.

Measures against drug abuse rest, first and foremost, on a number of international law acts ratified by the Supreme Soviet of the former USSR. These acts have different names: treaty, pact, convention, agreement, protocol, declaration and so on. From the juridical point of view, the difference in names is of no principal importance. No clear-cut criterion for the use of these names has been worked out in international practice. In each particular case, this question is resolved by the parties (countries) to negotiations, who agree on the definition of relations between them in this or another special field[047].

Actions against drug abuse are regulated by international law because they involve international relations, as they touch upon the interests of not one but, sometimes, of many countries. As for narco-crimes, they encroach upon the international cooperation, violate human rights, and state interests.

All crimes bearing international nature and coming under the norms of international criminal law, can be divided into two groups by the degree of their danger to the public, and the forms of manifestation: crimes of international character[048].

International crimes are those posing the biggest threat to the development of peaceful relations and cooperation between nations regardless of their social, political and government systems. They include heinous crimes against peace and security of the mankind, such as aggression, genocide, biocide, ecocide or apartheid.

Crimes of International Character

Crimes of international character are defined as those covered by the international law but not belonging to the category of crimes against peace and security of mankind, rather those infringing upon normal relations between countries and damaging their peaceful cooperation in various fields, as well as infringing upon relations between organizations and citizens. These crimes are much less dangerous and are hard to compare to crimes against the peace and security of mankind. They are punishable "in accordance with the norms covered by the international agreements (conventions), ratified in the proper order, or by the national criminal codes which conform to these agreements."[049].

Various areas of inter-state relations are the objects of crimes of international character. This factor makes it possible to divide these crimes into four rather relative sub-divisions:

1) crimes that infringe upon the peaceful cooperation and normal conduct of international relations (terrorism, hijacking and other crimes);

2) crimes that damage in a variety of norms international economic, social and cultural development, such as smuggling, illegal emigration, counterfeiting and dissemination of narcotics through illegal trade;

3) crimes that against property, moral values, and rights of individuals, such as trafficking, piracy, pornography and other crimes covered by international conventions and agreements;

4) other crimes of international character, such as crimes committed on board of aircraft, damage to underwater cables, collision of ships and the failure to provide help at sea etc.

This classification rules out an identical approach to crimes that are crimes against humanity, and crimes that are of international character. This classification allows to examine them in conformity with the set of laws they infringe upon and in conformity with the extent of harm they do to international relations. Moreover, this classification largely helps prevent any broader interpretation of the notion of international crimes[050].

The categories - listed above of these are not something permanent, as these crimes are of the changeable and dynamic nature. The extent of danger they pose can move them from one category to another. At present any crimes encroaching upon the vital interests of all nations and countries can be considered as international crime or crime of international character[051].

Virtually all countries recognize the need to combat international crimes and crimes of international character, including the illegal dissemination of and trade with narcotics. The binding nature of this effort stems from the universally recognized principles of international law, including the international duty of all countries to maintain peace and promote security of all nations, as well as to hold persons guilty of committing crimes against the peace and security of mankind and other crimes of international character accountable for their actions.

All international legal acts against drug abuse can be divided into general and specific. General acts regulate various types of international relations, particularly, those formed in connection with actions against international crimes and crimes of international character, including the dissemination of and trade with drugs. Specific acts of international law bear direct relation to actions against drug abuse and its most dangerous aspect- narco-crime.

General Acts of International Law

General acts of international law lay the legal foundation for cooperation among nations, in actions against international crimes and crimes of international character, the dissemination of narcotics among others. One of these acts is the UN Charter. Its Preamble urges all UN members to join in a common effort to maintain international peace and security. The UN Charter stresses the need to use international machinery for promoting the nations' economic and social progress and sets the goal "to practice international cooperation in resolving international problems of economic, social, cultural and humanitarian nature and in encouraging and promoting respect for human rights and basic freedoms for all regardless of race, sex, language and religion"[052].

The UN Charter (part 2 art. 2) also calls on nations to strictly and unswervingly observe international commitments that they have taken upon themselves voluntarily and among them, as the Preamble points out, to the commitments stemming from treaties, agreements and other sources of international law[053].

One of the major historically evolved principles of international law states that international agreements must be observed. Stemming from this principle is a member nation's duty to cooperate in combating crime, international crimes and crimes of international character, including the dissemination of and trade with narcotics.

These crimes have certain particularities. This has a bearing on the question of accountability if such crimes are committed. According to I.I. Karpets, there is a need to single out crimes covered by conventions or other signed and ratified international agreements, especially, if national legislation have been brought in accord with them. The existence of both is a good reason for making those guilty of committing these crimes to be held accountable. A failure to do so must be qualified as a violation of both international law and national legislation.

In case there are no coordinated norms of accountability, the involved countries should proceed from the general principles that had developed among nations and resolve questions of cooperation against crime on that basis. Specifically, they may determine the forms of this cooperation, its confines, the need to institute criminal proceedings in view of the committed crimes of international character, etc[054].

Special Acts of International Law

Special norms of international law dealing with measures to combat drug abuse have been taking shape gradually. The history of their development is uneven- from establishing international control over the lawful distribution and use of drugs to introducing control over illegal drug trafficking.

It is not accidental that crimes bearing on drug abuse are qualified as crimes of international character. This can be attributed to a number of circumstances.

As an age old phenomenon, drug addiction has spread over large territories. As it kept crossing national borders, whole areas appeared that specialized in growing and processing drug-bearing plants, manufacturing and distributing narcotics. Recently, areas where drug money can be laundered at a profit have emerged. In short, drug addiction has become widespread practically on all the continents. Drug abuse has acquired a transnational nature. At the turn of last century it had already been clear that drug addiction endangered not only the lives of individuals and social groups but also the economic advancement of many countries, as it is bound to inflict considerable damage on agriculture and trade and undermine whole industries. (chemical, pharmaceutical or pharmacological).

Measures that various governments tried to employ within their countries in the hope to "curb" drug addiction, so to speak, and ban , say, in Turkey or China, the non-medicinal use of drugs, failed to bring any positive results.

On top of that, programs against drug addiction required additional financial resources for treatment and social rehabilitation of addicts, medical personnel, curative medicines, and preventive measures by law enforcement agencies. Many countries lacked such financial resources. So, actions against drug abuse began crossing national boundaries. The awareness of a possible proliferation of drugs raised concern of the world public opinion and governments of many countries began pressing for the intensification of the rule of law on the international scene.

Consequently, an objective need arose to work out and put into practice joint inter-governmental agreements, adopt effective legal norms that would regulate international cooperation, enable countries to employ coordinated measures against drugs as a whole and its specific manifestations and to establish, as a result, both a domestic and international control over the use of narcotics and their consumption.

The first experiment of international control over narcotics and of measures against drug addiction at the international level dates back to the Shanghai Opium Commission held between February 5th and 26th 1909 in the city of Shanghai.

Shanghai Opium Commission of 1909

This commission consisted of the representatives from 13 countries: Russia, the USA, Austria-Hungary, Germany, Britain, France, China, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Persia, Portugal and Siam.

The commission attempted to work out measures that would block the illegal flow of drugs from the regions of Asia to European countries and the United States. It also discussed questions related to opium smoking and to international trade in opium derivatives.

In the long run, however, no constructive measures were produced. Documents issued by the commission contained no specific bans even on opium-smoking. Members of the commission thought it was sufficient to only speak about its regulation and gradual restriction.

Nevertheless, the work of the Shanghai opium commission of 1909 played a significant role. Officially it marked the beginning of actions against drug addiction at the international level and to the launching of a system of international control over the spread of drugs. It also mapped out directions for the future international legislation in resolving problems reviewed in Shanghai[055].

A further advancement in combating drugs was made in the Hague at the International Opium Conference held from December 1st 1911 to January 23d 1912. Representatives of 12 countries took part in it (the same as in Shanghai excluding Austria Hungary). The conference prepared and adopted the first convention on drugs (known as the Hague Convention). As a follow up to the Shanghai Commission, in terms of ideas, the conference proclaimed the timeliness of actions against narcotics as a whole and its specific trends.

The Hague Convention of 1912

The Hague convention of 1912 was the first to define the specific types of drugs which were put under international control. They were raw opium, smoke opium, medicinal opium, morphine, cocain and a few others. The contracting parties took pledges of both domestic and international nature upon themselves to adopt national laws establishing control over the production and distribution of raw opium, and at barring its illegal imports and exports without permits granted by specially authorized persons; to take steps towards gradually halting the production, domestic trade and use of smoke opium and introducing a ban on its imports and exports; to use narcotic substances ( medicinal opium, morphine and cocain) only for medicinal and "other reasonable purposes"; to ensure a legal regulation of the production of morphine, cocain, medicinal opium, heroin and their derivatives and also of trade in these narcotic substances; to adopt appropriate laws (if they are not adopted yet) or change existing laws concerning the responsibility and punishment of persons guilty of acts involving the illegal possession of drugs.

The provision concerning the legal regulation of the production of morphine and its derivatives and trade in them (cocain, medicinal opium and heroin) was an important step. It was an attempt to use preventive measures such as foreseeing the establishment of international control over narcotic substances which could appear in the future without their prior concrete mentioning in the Convention's text.

The significant feature about the Convention was that it not only proclaimed the need for cooperation among countries in establishing control over the use of narcotics but also outlined what needed to be accomplished. One of these accomplishments was the duty of countries to exchange, via the Dutch government, texts of legal acts and statistics on drugs.

The 1912 Hague Convention, however, failed to bring practical results, largely because of World War I, which began soon after the passing of the Convention. It was put into force only with the signing of the Versailles and other peace treaties which specified that their ratification was tantamount to the ratification of the 1912 Hague Convention on drugs[056].

International documents approved following the Hague Convention just filled in the gaps and developed its provisions. The need for such documents was prompted by the continuous expansion of drug addiction, and of the illegal trade and smuggling of various narcotics. These documents are kept within the demands of the present problems that had been approved at the international level. They had defined more precisely and expanded the range of questions pertaining to the regulation of the issue on the basis of international law. They also involved more and more countries concerned about combating narcotics.

The growing threat from narcotics was evident from a series of international acts on drugs. Apart from that, however, the passing of these acts marked an important stage in international relations. They affirmed the principle that international law was bound to help organize and ensure control over drugs. The case in point was the Agreement banning the production, domestic trade and use of refined opium. It was signed on February 11th 1925 at the Geneva Opium conference[057].

Following the signing of the Versailles Peace Treaty and the founding of the League of Nations this conference was the first to discuss the issue of narcotics.

Its official program envisaged the development of measures to implement the decisions of the 1912 Hague Convention to limit and eliminate the production, domestic trade and use of smoke opium. But according to juridical literature, the Conference in reality expressed the latent interests of the colonial powers- the signatories of the above mentioned Agreement[058].

The Geneva Conference of 1925 Agreement of February 11th, 1925

The Agreement provided for the establishment of monopoly associations on the territories and domains controlled by these powers to deal with the opium turnover, for handing over the production of smoke opium to the state monopoly, as well as conducting anti-opium propaganda.

The general control over the implementation of the Agreement's provisions concerning the trade in opium was placed upon the League of Nations- an international body set up in accordance with the Versailles peace treaty[059].

One of the provisions of this Agreement stipulated the need to study the state of control over smoke opium in the Far East. This study was carried out, practically for the first time in world practice, by a Special Commission appointed by the League of Nations Assembly in 1928[060].

The results of the study were examined in Bangkok and paved the way for the signing of the Bangkok Agreement of November 27th 1931 which banned opium smoking. The Agreement entered into force only in April 1937[061].

The Bangkok Agreement of 1931

The Bangkok Agreement added some new provisions to the Geneva Agreement of 11th February 1925. These new provisions made retail trade in opium possible only by government institutions; established criminal offence for persons under 21 years of age who visited opium dens; legally regulated the sale of smoke opium for cash and so on and so forth[062].

However, prior to the Bangkok Agreement, in view of the deterioration of the drug situation in the world in the postwar period, the second Geneva Opium Conference passed an Opium Convention that was signed in Geneva on 19th February 1925 and entered into force in September 1928[063].

The Opium Convention of 1925

It underlined that there was no way to end drug abuse and drug smuggling unless the production of those drugs was reduced considerably and a more stringent control over their international trade was introduced than the one stipulated by the 1912 Hague convention.

For this end, the 1925 Convention stipulated some legal and organizational measures against drug abuse both at the international and domestic levels.

This Convention confirmed the principles of the 1912 Hague Convention and, what is more, it firmly established that drugs could be produced only for the legal purposes of states, having defined what these legal purposes were. Of principal importance was the decision to put several more kinds of raw materials which drugs could be produced from (coca leaves, raw cocain, and cannabis) on the list of the controlled substances (in addition to the ones named by the 1912 Hague Convention). Moreover, the Convention was applicable to any substance which, in accordance with the conclusion drawn by an authorized body, could cause the same harmful consequences as the substances listed in the Convention.

To exercise domestic control over narcotic substances the parties to the Convention agreed to the following pledges: to pass national laws that would ensure the control over the production, dissemination and exportation of raw opium and to systematically revise and toughen those to the extent that the articles of the Convention would require; to limit the use, production, importation, sale, distribution, export, and application of narcotics exclusively to medical and scientific purposes; to exercise control over the activities of persons who were allowed to produce, import, export, sell, distribute and use drugs and also to exercise control over premises where these persons work with drugs or traded in them; to curtail the number of ports, cities and other populated centers where the importation and exportation of narcotics would be permitted and to pass through and adopt domestic legislation that would envisage punitive measures for the violations of the Convention's provisions.

To exercise international control over narcotic substances the Convention stipulated adoption of the following measures: to introduce a system of evaluation and estimation of a country's domestic need in narcotics for medical, scientific and other purposes in the up-coming year; to hand in statistics connected with drugs (in a special form and at definite periods of time ); to establish control over international trade in drugs and to also establish firm rules for the importation and exportation of drugs (to import and export narcotics only if there is a special written permission, as outlined by the Convention; to regulate the order of transit shipments and the storage of drugs at stores of third countries to prevent their possible leakage from the legal circulation during their shipments and storage); to establish control over the compliance with all commitments taken by the countries- parties to the Convention; to place the exercise of that control on a newly organized international body called the Permanent Central Committee (later its official name changed several times, although most of the time, it was known as "The Permanent Central Committee on Narcotic Substances").

The Convention also stressed the need for cooperation between countries in preventing the use of narcotic substances for purposes other than designated. It stipulated that the exchange of information about laws and decisions on the implementation of the proclaimed principles (using the services of Secretary General) would be a concrete form of this cooperation.

To put it in a nutshell, the Convention defined the content and forms of realization of international control over narcotics. It introduced a system of licensing and recording foreign trade operations of drugs and obliged the member countries to submit detailed statistics about such operations.

The convention on the limitation of production and the regulation of the distribution of narcotic substances signed on July 13th 1931 in Geneva proved to be another link in the international control system[064].

The Convention of 1931

That Convention meant to introduce amendments to the two already existing conventions in force, those of 1912 and of 1925. It contained the following additions: uniform definition of notions, through the control over drugs. Alternative versions of such notions as "production", "refining", "processing", "storage reserves", "state storage reserves", "import-export" and others were removed. For the first time, a list of medicines containing drugs was established and production, processing, use, exportation and importation of them would now be controlled. The system of evaluating and estimating the overall demand for drugs in all countries regardless of their membership in the given Convention was perfected. Accountability for the commitments of member governments was enhanced. A special agency, the Control Commission, was set up to study data from governments about the quantity of narcotics and accounts about their receipt and use. In case the Commission found any deviations or the demand for drugs was too large in its judgment, the Commission had the right to question the examined figures and carry out its own calculations. The extradition of criminals was envisaged (under certain conditions) for committing crimes linked to drugs. The convention stipulated that member-countries had to have norms in their national legislation concerning the criminal punishment of persons who encouraged the illegal spread of the most dangerous forms of drugs.

The Convention also contained some administrative decisions aimed at perfecting the domestic control over drugs. It urged member-countries, in particular, to set up a special body that was to apply the Convention's decisions; regulate, supervise and control the trade in medicines on the Convention's list; act against toxicomania using all possible measures for halting its development, and bar, in particular, the illegal trafficking of toxic substances.

Under the Convention cooperation between member-countries expanded considerably. Along with the traditional exchange of the texts of legal acts, an annual report was to be submitted to the Secretary General of the League of Nations about the Convention's implementation on the territories of the member-states. The report was to be compiled in accordance with the model agreed upon by the Consultative Commission on the Turnover of Opium and other medicines containing harmful substances.

The contracting parties also pledged to inform each other, through the office of the League of Nations Secretary General, about all the important cases of illegal drug trafficking. These reports had to highlight sources or methods of illegal trafficking, the nature and the amount of drugs, the time and place of their discovery, smuggling methods and sanctions and measures in acted by the government.

The Geneva Convention of 1936

The convention against illegal trade in drastic medicines signed on 26th June 1936 in Geneva became the next important document[065].

That Convention introduced a number of new essential amendments corresponding with its title containing the word 'struggle', which opened a prospect for a juridical cooperation in campaigns against drug abuse. The range of crimes subject to prosecution was outlined and expanded considerably. Contracting parties pledged to prosecute persons engaged in the illegal manufacture, storage, shipment, exportation, sale or purchase of drugs or who organized conspiracies with the aim of premeditated participation in the illegal drug trade. The Convention also provided for the extension of reciprocal legal assistance through the exchange of necessary information to identify and arrest criminals and extradite them to a foreign country[066].

World War II pushed the problems of international cooperation and control of narcotic substances to the background. But right after the end of the war this problem came to the foreground once again. In view of this, some international acts were adopted that regulated relations in the area of narcotics. The following documents seem to be of interest.

The Protocols of 1946 and of 1948

The Protocol on Drugs signed in Lake Success (New York) on 11th December, 1946 provided for the introduction of changes into the agreements, conventions and protocols on drugs signed in the Hague on 23d January 1912; in Geneva - on 11th February 1925, 19th February 1925 and 13th July 1931; in Bangkok - on 27th November 1931 and in Geneva - on 26th June 1936[067]. The Protocol on Drugs covered issues that arose in view of the dissolution of the League of Nations and the transferring of some of its drug control functions to the Organization of United Nations, the World Health Organization or its Interim Committee, and of the transferring of duties of the League of Nations Secretary General- to the UN Secretary General. The Protocol was the first UN document that introduced necessary re-naming although in reality changed nothing in the system of control and cooperation that existed hitherto.

The Protocol signed in Paris on 19th November 1948 dealt with the establishment of international control on medicines that were not put on the list of the 1931 Convention which limited the production and regulated the distribution of narcotics (changes to this Protocol were introduced by the 1946 Lake Success Protocol)[068].

The signatories of this Protocol pledged to inform the UN about any substance that could possibly be abused and also to spread control onto synthetic drugs that had appeared by the time of the signing, and had not been previously listed in earlier international regulations.

Discussion of drug issues at the international level and the adoption of decisions under international law brought national legislation closer together, helped define priorities of the anti-narcotics movement, form an understanding of the danger posed by narcotics and control the lists of narcotics whose manufacture and use was subject to international control.

Yet, the existence of such simultaneously operating legal acts and international bodies failed to ensure sufficient legal regulation and control of all the issues connected with narcotics. This failure created certain difficulties for exercising control over drug abuse. The existing international acts also lagged behind the realities of life.

Many issues remained unresolved. For example, only some narcotic preparations were controlled whereas the production of raw materials for the making of synthetic drugs remained uncontrolled. The cultivation and use of drug-bearing plants and other problems related to narcotics required a legal regulation. In view of this, two important international acts were worked out and approved within the United Nations framework. They were the Uniform Convention on Drugs of 1961 amended later by the 1972 Protocol on Drugs[069], and the United Nations Convention of 1988 which provided for action against the illegal trafficking of narcotics and psychotropic substances[070].

One need not think however that the provisions of the earlier approved acts were so out-dated that they required to be radically changed. The two Conventions left intact therefore many time-tested provisions of the above-cited documents. At present they form the main legal foundation for the system helping exercise international cooperation and control over drugs.

The Uniform Convention of 1961

The 1961 Uniform Convention regulates questions pertaining to the legal use of drugs. Its adoption was a landmark in the development of relations based on international law. The Convention is designed to promote decisive actions against narcotics at the international level through the building of a system of international cooperation and control over narcotics. In fact, this one document is a substitute for all the previously accepted international acts (with the exception of some points of the 1936 Convention). It diminished the number of international bodies in charge of the control over narcotics, and established control over the production of drug-bearing raw materials.

The participants in the Convention expressed the wish to sign a universally accepted international convention to limit the use of narcotics to medical and scientific purposes only and to maintain permanent international cooperation in order to accomplish the principles and aims of the Convention[071].

The parties to the Convention pledged to adopt not only necessary legislative measures, as the case had been here-to fore, but also administrative measures and to ensure fulfillment of the Convention's decisions. They took upon themselves to limit the production, exportation, importation, distribution, use, storage, and trade in narcotics and limit their use and storage for medical purposes exclusively in order to diminish sufferings and pain.

Instead of the previous four international agencies which controlled narcotics, the Convention authorized the formation of just two: the Commission on Drugs under the UN Economic and Social Council[072] and the newly formed International Committee on Drug Control of the United Nations Organization[073].

The Convention endowed these two bodies with broad authority.

The Commission on Drugs of the UN ECOSOC

The Commission examines all issues that bear relation to the aims proclaimed by the Uniform Convention. Every year it approves and amends the List of substances, plants and preparations, the use, dissemination, cultivation and storage of which is under international control. It introduces corresponding changes and additions to the List and informs the national governments. The Commission also informs the Committee of any circumstances that may bear upon execution of its functions. Finally, it issues recommendations concerning the implementation of the Convention's aims and decisions, including the program of research and the exchange of scientific and technical information.

For example, one of the recommendations calls for the need to provide countries where the illegal cultivation of drug-bearing plants is practiced with an access to modern reconnaissance technology which makes it possible to discover and then destroy such fields. This recommendation also calls for the need to promote the economies of these countries so that their farmers could earn a living by working at legal agricultural and other enterprises; to combine steps against the illegal production and spread of narcotics with the efforts to build a more just international order, give help to third world countries in boosting their economies, developing their traditional export industries and agriculture, and train specialists; to regard programs for preventing drug addiction and curing drug addicts as top priorities.28

Member countries may also be asked to submit their own recommendations. These may include annual reports about the Convention's implementation on their respective territories, texts of laws and rules passed with the aim of implementing the Convention's provisions; names and addresses of government agencies authorized to give permits for the exportation or certificates for the importation of narcotics; or any other reports about cases of illegal trafficking.

The UN Committee on Drug Control

In accordance with the requirements of the 1961 Uniform Convention (with amendments) the Committee consists of 13 members elected for the term of 5 years. 3 members with medical, pharmaceutical and pharmacological experience from the list of persons submitted by the WHO and 10 members-from the list of persons submitted by countries belonging to the UN. Persons recommended as members of the Committee have to meet special requirements such as competence, non-involvement, impartiality, trustworthiness and must have an awareness of the situation in the countries where narcotics are produced, made and consumed.

The Committee performs important functions which actually form the essence of the system of international control over the legal use of narcotics. They are:

- using the system of estimation of the countries' demand for drugs. The countries concerned are obliged to submit the following annual estimations written in special forms to the Committee: the quantity of drugs used for medical and scientific purpose and for the preparation of other narcotics, medicines and substances not covered by the given Convention; the quantity of stored available narcotics as of December 31st of the reported year; the size and the geographical position of the field used for cultivating opium poppy and the approximate quantity of opium expected to be obtained from it, and the number of enterprises producing synthetic drugs and the quantity of such drugs produced at each enterprise;

- estimating the overall level of drugs produced and imported by any country or territory throughout one year (quantity of drugs imported which is above the reported figures cannot be permitted without a sanction from the Committee);

- introducing a regulated order for endorsing the demand for drugs used for medical purposes. To ensure a balance between the demand and supply of opiates used in medicine, the Committee sends information with estimates of the demand for these preparations to the country producing these drugs. The country is to agree with these estimates and then decrease (or increase) their production.

- using the system of statistical reports. The governments submit statistical reports to the Committee about the production and preparation of specific drugs, their use and consumption, their exportation and importation, their detention, their stocks and fields used to cultivate opium poppy and other data which allows the Committee to determine if countries are abiding by the Convention's decisions and then take appropriate measures to ensure their implementation and the accomplishment of the control functions.

The Committee collects and analyzes information submitted to it by the United Nations agencies, individual governments and international organizations, including Interpol. This information features the production, manufacture, modification, consumption of drugs, as well as international trade in them, supply and confiscation of drugs. The Committee also points to the shortcomings in the arrangement of control functions and offers recommendations as to how these shortcomings can be dealt with. If need be, the Committee has the right to invite representatives of any country to its meetings.

Upon getting the information that the target set by the Convention is endangered in any country due to its failure to abide by the Convention's decisions, the Committee has the right to ask for an explanation and also to recommend adjustment measures. If a particular government fails to provide a satisfactory explanation or to accept the adjustment measures proposed by the Committee, the problem can be brought to the attention of the involved parties, of the Council or the Commission. The involved party may be recommended to stop the importation or exportation of narcotics to given countries or territories for a specific period of time until the Committee recognizes that the situation in that country has become satisfactory.

The Committee is endowed with the right to impose restrictions, under certain conditions, on the manufacture and import of drugs.

Since a large volume of information is available at the Committee it is able to prepare reports, publish them and forward them to the Council to be sent to the parties concerned. In these reports the Committee can touch upon any issues connected with drugs and inform its readers about newly passed decisions. For example, in its report of 1989 (Vienna) the Committee called on the governments of all countries to strictly observe the Convention's provisions, to submit statistical accounts about the available quantities of narcotics and trade in them, among other related data.

To avoid alternative versions and form a single understanding, the Uniform Convention establishes identical definitions of special terminology related to drugs.

Drug-related Terminology as Established by the Uniform Convention

For example, according to the Convention a "narcotic substance" is any of the substances included in List I and List II regardless of whether it is synthetic or natural. Lists I,II,III, and IV are enumerations of narcotics or drug-bearing preparations and are supplements to the Convention in which possible changes may be made from time to time in accordance with the procedures established by the Convention.

Definitions are also given for cannabis and its plant and resin, cocain shrub, coca leaves, opium, opium poppy and poppy straw.

Significantly, the international understanding of the word "cultivation" pertaining to drugs covers only the cultivation of opium poppy , cocain brush or the cannabis plant. It should be mentioned at this point that the 1988 UN Convention defines this term differently. But this will be discussed below.

The term "illegal trafficking" means the cultivation of or any action relating to the sale of narcotics in violation of the Convention's decisions. The term "importation" and "exportation" mean the physical shipment of narcotics crossing the boundaries of one country to another or from one territory to another within one and the same country. The term "territory" means any part of a country defined as a separate unit for the purpose of applications of the system of drug importation certificates and drug exportation permits to it.

The term "manufacture" implies (with the exception of production) all the processes that pertain to obtaining narcotic substances, including refining or turning one narcotic into another.

The term "production" means the separation of opium, coca, cannabis leaves and cannabis resin from the plants which they are obtained from.

The term "preparation" means a hard or liquid mixture containing a narcotic substance.

The term "storage stocks" is used in relation to the amount of narcotics which are available in a particular country or on its territory and meant to be used for medical or scientific purposes, for exportation or for the needs of various pharmacists, authorized traders and specialists or institutions where medical or scientific research is carried out.

Included in this term is also the notion "special storage stocks" which is used to describe the amount of narcotics available within a country or a territory of that country and put at the disposal of its government to be used for special purposes or in case of an emergency.

The Uniform Convention introduces a number of specific restrictions and bans and a special procedure for the cultivation of drug-bearing plants. The most important restrictions are those concerning the cultivation of opium poppy, cocain shrub or cannabis plant.

Special provisions are envisaged in the first place in relation to opium. Government-run institutions (one or several) should be set up to deal with the cultivation of opium poppy and with opium production. They should have the right to determine areas and sizes of fields, and issue licenses and permits for land plots where a certain amount of opium poppy can be grown and a certain amount of opium-produced. These government-run institutions should be endowed with the exclusive right to buy opium poppy crops from farmers and to import, export, conclude wholesale trade deals and maintain storage opium stocks (with the exception of medicinal opium and preparations from it.)

The responsibilities of persons are outlined who have permits (licenses) to grow drug-bearing plants, to turn over crops of opium poppy only to the institution which they had received their permits from. Any departures from the established procedures are qualified as violations of the law. The Convention permits narcotics to be made only at government-run enterprises or in accordance with licenses issued to persons with necessary qualifications.

The Convention introduces uniform rules for storing narcotics to ensure that the substances are maintained in proper condition. It envisages the responsibility of member-states for taking precautionary measures to prevent the inappropriate use of narcotics or the possibility for them to become part of illegal trafficking in cases when, for example, they are kept in airliners' first aid compartments.

Narcotics can be stored only legally. Their producers are not allowed to keep them in quantity exceeding the established norms. A compulsory registration system is established under which the quantity of each prepared, acquired or used drug should be recorded. Drugs can be stored for no more than 2 years.

The signatories of the Convention are obliged to take specially stipulated measures to combat illegal drug trafficking. The Convention therefore grants the contracting parties the right to control the work of persons and enterprises engaged, on a legal basis, in the cultivation, manufacture, storage and use of narcotics and of those engaged in the drugs' exportation, importation, distribution and trade.

The participating countries, besides, have the following duties: to take steps at home towards coordinating preventive and repressive measures against illegal drug trafficking; to help each other in carrying out campaigns against illegal drug trafficking; to closely cooperate with competent international bodies in carrying out coordinated actions for the purpose of combating narcotics and also to ensure an effective international cooperation and a quick transfer of legal documents for launching prosecution.

Punishability of drug-related crimes

The Uniform Convention institutes the punishment for drug-related crimes and obliges member-countries to take specific actions when crimes that are recognized as punishable by the Convention are committed intentionally. Serious crimes should be punished by imprisonment or some other form of deprivation of freedom. Intentional crimes which are punishable include: the cultivation and production, manufacture, extraction, preparation , storage, offer, offer with commercial intentions, distribution, purchase, sale, delivery on any conditions, drug-pushing, dispatch, transit re-dispatch, shipping, and importation and exportation of narcotics. Each of these crimes, if committed in more than one country, must be considered as a separate crime. Intentional complicity in any of these crimes, participation in a community with the aim to commit or attempt to commit a crime, preparatory actions or financial operations related to the above cited crimes must also be recognized as punishable actions. Sentences passed by foreign courts for such crimes must be taken into account when considering recidivism.

The Convention recommends that any extradition treaty should make these crimes subject to extradition.

Yet while instituting punishment for a long list of drug-related crimes the Uniform Convention also includes a special decision on treating drug addicts. It calls on the member-states to create conditions conducive to providing them with rehabilitation and restoring their ability to work. If economic opportunities are available in the country, appropriate conditions should be created providing preventive treatment to drug addicts.

The UN Convention of 1988

The 1988 Convention regulates questions relating to the illegal trafficking of drugs and psycho tropes. The aim of this Convention is to promote cooperation between the contracting parties so as to more effectively solve various problems involving worldwide illegal drug trafficking, curtail its size and prevent its grave consequences. The Convention particularly emphasizes the danger of the proliferation of illegal drug trafficking and the involvement of children in it. It points to the need to ensure control of easily accessible substances and those which are used to make narcotics illegally.

Special attention is paid to the need to improve international cooperation to block illegal drug trafficking at sea. The Convention envisages steps to prevent a certain number of offenses.

The contracting parties are expected to adopt necessary legislative and organizational steps. The following provisions seem to be the most interesting.

The Notion of Illegal Drug Trafficking

Firstly, there is a provision, bearing the form of a recommendation, for member states that national legislation should recognize certain premeditated actions included by the Convention into the notion of "illegal trafficking" as common crimes. Actions that violate the 1961 Convention (with amendments) include: production, manufacture, preparation, offer for sale, distribution, sale, delivery on any terms, middleman services, shipping, transit shipping, transportation, and importation or exportation of any narcotic. Other actions which should be recognized as crimes are the cultivation of specially indicated narcotic-bearing plants in order to turn out drugs; storing or purchasing any narcotic for illegal trafficking; making, transporting or distributing equipment, materials or substances for the purpose of illegal cultivation, production or manufacture of narcotics; organization, guidance or financing of any offenses listed above; conversion or transfer of property obtained from the above mentioned offenses in order to conceal or cover up an illegal source of property or in order to help a person who is taking part in committing the listed offenses to evade responsibility for his actions; concealment or secrecy of the true nature of the source, whereabouts, arrangement method, transfer of the rights in relation to property or its belonging if it is known that this property is gained as a result of the listed offenses; possession of equipment or materials needed to illegally cultivate, produce or make any narcotic; public encouragement or incitement of other persons by any means to commit any of the above-mentioned offenses; participation or involvement in a criminal collusion in order to commit the mentioned offenses, as well as accomplice, incitement, assistance or advice during their commission; and intentional storage, acquisition or cultivation of any narcotic for personal use in defiance of the provisions of the 1961 Convention (with amendments).

Secondly, there is a provision concerning matters of responsibility and punishment of people convicted of dangerous drug-related crimes. This provision recommends such sanctions as imprisonment or the deprivation of freedom, as well as additional measures in the form of rehabilitation, restoration of the ability to work, or social reintegration with subsequent supervision.

Controlled Deliveries

Thirdly, there is a provision about the use of controlled deliveries at the international level based on mutual accords. Controlled delivery is a method under which exportation, transportation or importation of illegal or suspicious batches of drugs are allowed on the territory of one or several countries with the knowledge and under the supervision of competent agencies in order to identify the participants in these offenses.

Most norms covered by international conventions are part of the laws of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and more of these norms may be registered in the future provided there are suitable conditions.

Measures to Prevent Drug Money Laundering

There are two documents which have been mentioned earlier that are very important in controlling drug abuse because they affect the "sore points" of narco-business. Both of these documents need to be applied in the Republic of Azerbaijan. One, from 12th December 1988, is a statement by the Committee on Banking Rules and Banking Supervision. Its aim is to prevent the criminal use of the banking system for laundering money gained from the trade in drugs. The other is the decision by the heads of state and government of the 7 leading industrial countries and by the European Commission Chairman. Under this decision taken at the 15th Economic Summit in Paris in July 1989, a Special Operations Group on financial issues was set up.

It must also be noted that the past few years have seen the convocation of numerous official and unofficial conferences, symposia and meetings of experts specializing in combating drug abuse, including one held in 1996 in Baku. They all worked out and recommended for implementation various measures to control narcotics.


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