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Enforcement of Legal Measures of Narcotics Counteraction

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)


The organization of legal enforcement of anti-narcotics measures falls into three groups:

1) application of legal administrative and criminal legal norms regulating the prevention and suppression of narcotics; 2) government legal measures to set and refine law enforcement and other agencies combating narcotics; 3) international anti-narcotics measures.

Group One includes compulsory treatment of drug addicts and measures against drug-related crimes. Compulsory treatment of drug addicts is a law-enforcement measure aimed at cutting down the non-medical use of narcotic substances. It can be administered by the court to an addict who evades voluntary treatment or who continues misusing drugs after a course of treatment. If an addict commits a crime, the court metes out punishment in combination with compulsory treatment.

Compulsory Treatment of Drug Addicts

Compulsory treatment is prescribed to all categories of abusers at medical institutions with a specialized treatment procedure in the course of work therapy. If criminal punishment is imposed, the treatment is executed at the penitentiary during the term of imprisonment.

Placement of drug addicts to mandatory treatment centers is in the domain of responsibilities of police departments. This activity goes hand in hand with the following organizational measures[150]:

identification of individuals perpetrating drugs abuse;

administering a medical examination, and a compulsory visit to a medical institution in case of a refusal to undergo the procedure voluntarily;

compulsory hospitalization for complete check-up upon conclusion of a narcologist (psychiatrist specializing in addictive conditions - translator's note). Notification is given to the prosecutor's office and, if an underage addict is hospitalized, to his or her parents.

timely and renewable registration of drug addicts at the drug-patient monitoring clinics, and prophylactic registration of the individuals whose misuse of drugs has not yet acquired the form of an illness;

supervision over the daily way of life of the registered patients and checking their attempts to skip compulsory treatment, imposition of other measures of educational, medical and legal influence;

issuance of documents for placing the addicts who avoid mandatory treatment to rehabilitation and work-therapy clinics and specialized drug-abuse Medicare centers; filing documents on treatment of evaders with the courts;

escorting of addicts to the places of mandatory treatment, registration of individuals who were formerly sentenced for drug-related crimes or fell under administrative liability for misuse of drugs;

individual prophylactic measures against addicts to whom corrective labor has been meted out without a term of imprisonment, or whose sentences have been suspended or deferred;

treatment of drug addicts at corrective labor institutions simultaneously with serving a term, supervision over inmates' treatment and behavior.

Organizational Law Enforcement Measures Against Drug-Related Crimes

Other organizational law enforcement measures against narcotics-related crimes are: locating the illegal plantations of narcotic-bearing crops and identifying their growers, eradicating such plantations, securing prohibitions to grow narcotic substance containing crops, making special maps upon the inspections of gardens, private plots of land and wastelands, cooperating with agriculture experts, army units and other departments concerned, carrying out special task operations and disseminating information on drugs.

It is of paramount importance to reorganize the system of guarding government-controled plantations of hemp and the like crops or create such a system in the places where it is absent. This measure is closely linked to the development of advanced methods of crop guarding, especially, in harvesting seasons. Work by shifts and material incentives may prove effective. Good results can also be obtained through the improvement of technical and chemical means of protection.

To limit the access of the public at large to the areas of government-sponsored drug- bearing crop plantations, it would stand to reason to establish special passport and traffic control in such areas.

Organization of Measures to Suppress Drug-Dealing

The measures to suppress drug-dealing are the most important issue at present. Manufacture and trade in narcotics has become a branch of the shadow economy. It is gaining momentum, creating production facilities and channels of distribution. In a large number of cases the understaffed law enforcement departments are unable to rebuff the onslaught of drug manufacturers and offer sound alternatives to all aspects of drug abuse.

The illegal production of drugs that spill over the state borders and continents is at the top of the world community's agenda. Particular significance is attached to the clandestine drug laboratories.

In the wake of it, it is exigent to set up specialized police departments which will concentrate the officers of high professional expertise and to provide them with the necessary material and technical support.

Foreign experts believe tangible results in eradicating clandestine laboratories can be achieved if police operations to uncover the channels by which the raw materials arrive and the end product is dispatched are synchronized with the efforts to block access to chemical substances and equipment the manufacture of drugs requires. This, however, is not easy as some drug synthesis components such as acetic anhydride, ether, benzene, acetone are extensively used in the industrial sector. Their industrial consumption is not controled in practical terms since, in most countries, legislation does not regulate the production, storage and use of these chemicals.

Experts in Germany propose in this connection that the laws against drugs should extend to cover these chemicals too. But the output and industrial use of the above substances is so massive that the attempts to take them under control within the boundaries of a single country have yielded no results while entailing substantial expenditure on organizing the control service.

Another measure suggested is marking the packing of chemical substances with special marks that would help the police identify the country of origin and the manufacturer. Such a step, however, is unproductive as in most cases the police does not get a hold of packing of the chemicals which had already been used.

Experts consider as more promising the special laboratory tests of the confiscated narcotic substances and chemicals used in the manufacture of drugs. The tests can be more helpful in identifying the country of origin, elucidating specific features of the technological process and other fundamental properties of the chemicals.

For instance, specialists of the German institute of criminology have designed on the basis of the American and Swedish experience methods of identifying the places of origin of heroin through chromatographic testing.

Experts believe the most effective way to control the proliferation of the substances used in drug manufacturing could be the marking of such substances with dyes or radiation. The weak point of the method is a possible impact the marking may have on the qualities of the chemicals and the end products. Besides, it would contradict the legislation of many countries and some international agreements. That is why the researchers of anti-narcotic methods tend to pin hopes on the method of a different nature - self-control. It encompasses a set of police-proposed measures that are effectuated by the services directly involved in actions against illegal manufacturing, trafficking and trade in drugs, as well as by all companies and individuals who have a connection with the manufacturing, sales and use of narcotics and auxiliary chemicals. According to this concept, the producers, suppliers and consumers of chemicals report to the police all suspicious purchases. The police, in its turn, work out detailed recommendation and criteria for such cases[151]. Examples of these criteria are above-the- statistic-average size of a purchased batch of chemicals, a request from a new client, etc. Such kind of reporting gives the police more opportunities to locate illegal laboratories, channels of raw materials supplies and dispatch of the end product.

An imperative condition for putting in effect practical anti-narcotics measures is stringent control over the narcotic raw materials and their storage and limitations on trade in them.

It is important to note that drug-dealing affects the legitimate turnover of narcotic substances. Violations of the rules of their storage, manufacturing, and accounting continue increasing. There are misappropriations and other offenses, including attacks on warehouses of narcotic preparations in health centers, drug stores, etc. Executives do not take adequate measures to safeguard narcotic substances and sometime become accomplices in crimes. A possible explanation for this state of affairs is the breach of the rules outlined above.

It is important to reveal violations of the effective rules of manufacturing, storage, accounting, and sales of narcotic preparations, invoking criminal liability when necessary. This necessitates joint steps by the anti-drug units, licensing system of the internal affairs ministry, fire detachments and units of extra-departmental guards.

The perpetrators of drug-related crimes' utmost secrecy calls for the improvement in the procedures of investigation in strict compliance with the criminal law procedures.

Crime Investigation Organizational Measures

An important element in this process is the interaction between detectives and investigators. The best and well-tested form of this interaction is the setting-up of temporary or, as need be, permanently functioning inquiry/investigation groups. These groups focus the efforts of all branches of the police on drug-related crimes. The main directions of activities (with due regard to the limits of professional competence of each member of the group) are:

a) gathering and systematic analysis of all the incoming and requested information on drug-related crimes and malefactors;

b) identification of criminal groupings and measures toward halting their activities;

c) police actions to prevent and halt misappropriations of drugs and other offenses in medicare institutions and other organizations;

d) police actions taken simultaneously with the investigation as envisaged by the criminal law court procedure;

e) quality emergency investigation, completeness, objectivity and timeliness of inquiry and investigation;

f) tactical planning and expedient conduct of search and technical operations; professional conduct of operations; employment of investigation and other technologies to supply the investigators with testimonies and eye-witness accounts of the offenders' guilt;

g) professional analysis of the ways of using the results of search and technical operations in investigation procedures.

The government's legal measures to create and improve law enforcement and other agencies combating narcotics represent a major step towards forming an independent anti-narcotics system, after the Republic of Azerbaijan had gained independence.

The foundation of that system was laid by the Decree No. 253 of the President of Azerbaijan On Measures To Accelerate Efforts Against Drug Abuse. The Decree gave the campaign against drug abuse the status of an important government policy. The document mapped out the guidelines and the strategy and named the key participants.

The Decree of the President of Azerbaijan, signed on October 7th, 1992

The Decree provides detailed instructions to the republic's ministries and departments on adopting organizational measures to step up efforts against drug abuse.

a) The ministries of the internal affairs and public health must inspect the purchasing, transportation, storage and inventory of narcotic preparations used for medical purposes, register and provide medical treatment to drug abusers, invoke criminal liability charges in line with the effective legislation, maintain interaction between the police and health services in delivering prophylactic treatment to drug abusers who have served a term of imprisonment, and perfect popularization of anti-narcotic measures among the population.

b) The customs committee, the border committee, the ministries of internal affairs and national security must maintain coordination and interaction in preventing the illegal imports of drugs from abroad and the smuggling of narcotics via the border-crossing points with a simplified checking procedure.

c) The Prosecutor's Office must intensify supervision of compliance with the law on combating narcotics and take steps to raise the efficiency of measures against crimes linked to the illegal turnover of drugs.

d) The Supreme Court must generalize the results of the cases in this category and introduce a unified procedure of applying the anti-drug legislation.

e) The ministries of internal affairs, justice and public health, the prosecutor's office and the Supreme Court must prepare a draft on changes in the criminal code and administrative laws to provide detailed specifications of drug-related offenses and punishment.

f) The ministry of foodstuffs and agriculture, the committee for ecology and environmental protection, the state forestry enterprise and territorial branches of the executive authority must continue large-scale operations to locate and destroy the illegal plantations of drug-bearing crops. The outcome of these operations must be reported to the legislative department of the Office of the President.

g) The ministry of education, and other ministries supervising educational institutions, law enforcement agencies, and public health must take measures to prevent the abuse of drugs among the young and to enhance the liability of education centers' directors for neglect of drug abuse by the students.

h) The state broadcasting company and other mass media must allot more time and space to discussing the problems of suppressing narcotics.

Among other measures, the Decree made provisions for creating a unified medical service to raise the efficacy of drug addicts treatment, finding qualified personnel and furnishing it with the newest methods of treatment, rendering rehabilitation assistance on the basis of international practice, and timely identifying and treating the adolescents bent on misuse of narcotic and toxic substances.

Despite the complex economic and political situation in the country, these guidelines have been, on the whole, implemented. As part of this process, the Azerbaijanian cabinet of ministers passed the decree No. 602 on 3rd November 1992, which instituted an Inter-Departmental Commission for Combating Drug Addiction and Narco-Business. It coordinates the work of 24 ministries and departments.

The Inter-Departmental Commission for Combating Drug Addiction and Narco-Business.

In line with the presidential decree, the commission included the heads of the ministries of internal affairs, public health, national security, justice, defense, foreign affairs, education, the committees for ecology, border control, customs service, physical culture and sports, the state broadcasting company, and some other government agencies. A deputy prime-minister became chairman of the commission. The personal membership list was approved by the decision of the cabinet.

The principal duty of the Commission is to coordinate relations between government bodies and public organizations, draft and implement national programs for combating drug abuse and drug-dealers, and synchronize the activities of government and public organizations. The commission is accountable to the cabinet of ministers. Besides, it was obliged to inform regularly the public about its accomplishments. It met in sessions as might be needed but, at a minimum, twice in three months. The commission had the right to pass resolutions within the limit of its authority. Such resolutions were binding for all government bodies, public organizations, executives and citizens of Azerbaijan.

The commission had broad powers to establish interaction between the ministry of internal affairs of Azerbaijan and the interior and drug-combating departments of other countries, to prepare bilateral agreements with neighboring countries, to promote Azerbaijan's participation in international anti-narcotic programs.

Other responsibilities of the commission are 1) to perfect the drug-monitoring service of the public health ministry and maintain its material base, 2) to prepare and carry out together with the ministries and the concerned departments measures warding off the growing of narcotic-bearing plants, the misappropriation of strong narcotic preparations and other crimes committed under influence of narcotics, 3) to advance the ways of informing the public on the hazards of drugs, and 4) to motivate the citizens to participate in cultural events and sports.

The National Program of 1993

By passing the resolution No. 138 the cabinet of ministers approved on 14th April, 1993, the National Program for Combating Drug Addiction and Narco-Business. Analysis, however, showed that there were no significant results from its realization. Apart from subjective circumstances, the program was rather declaratory and was not well supported financially. This prompted the Inter-Departmental Commission for Combating Drugs and Narco-business to pass a decision on 4th April, 1996, to draft a new national program which would take account of the obligations under international agreements. A part and parcel of it is the program (already in effect) of destroying the wild-growing and illegally cultivated narcotic-bearing plants. It stipulates large-scale operations under the code name Poppy, backed up materially and financially by the ministries of finance and of telecommunications and by the state committee for planning. The creation of a special fund for these operations was also envisioned.

The Program for Destroying Crops of Drug-bearing Plants

The geographic and climatic conditions of the Republic of Azerbaijan are conducive to grow drug-bearing plants like marijuana and hashish. These are found across Azerbaijan, even in Baku. They are illegally shipped out of the republic, making it a raw material base for underground narcotics' production. In 1992 alone about 500 tonnes of such plants were destroyed, and 240 citizens were prosecuted (347 in 1993) for illegal cultivation. 211,801 square meters of illegal wild hemp, about 7,000 square meters of illegal opium poppy, 828 square meters of oil-bearing poppy and 23,548 square meters of hemp crops were destroyed.

Operations, like the one code named POPPY, helped to discover such crops. They involved aircraft and farm machinery plus experts from Azerbaijan's Internal Affairs, Agriculture, and Defense Ministries and the state-owned Khava Yollary concern.

However, POPPY operations go far beyond the discovery and destruction of drug-containing crops. They include:

- army and police measures to avert the illegal export and import of narcotic raw material and its shipment within the Republic of Azerbaijan;

- checks and searches at border posts of all means of transportation, big and small luggage and mail packages to prevent drugs from being smuggled into the Republic of Azerbaijan;

- measures to expose and close channels of drugs smuggling into the Republic of Azerbaijan;

- inspections at offices and organizations to check compliance with the rules for the storage, stock-taking, and distribution of narcotic medications;

- measures to close channels of drugs delivery to penitentiaries;

- more extensive practice of holding exemplary court sessions to examine drug-related criminal cases and focus media attention on these issues.

The Internal Affairs Ministry of Azerbaijan has adopted measures to reorganize and perfect the structure of the service engaged in combating drug addiction and drug trafficking. Given a rise in drug-related crime and a need to fundamentally change the forms and methods of fighting it, the Ministry of Internal Affairs has set up a specialized anti-drug addiction and trafficking department, which comprises three sections plus three such sections, three sub-sections, and 48 specialized groups functioning at local law-enforcement bodies across the republic. Besides, by an order, issued by the Ministry of Internal Affairs in August 1993, its Police Academy was declared the basic institution for training and re-training specialists in the field of combating drug-related crimes.

The measures, defined by the October 7th, 1992 presidential decree, have not been carried out in full for various reasons. By and large, the situation with narcotics in the republic has not improved, the number of narcotics-related crimes has not decreased. The decision of the Azerbaijani Cabinet's Anti-Narcotics Commission to draft a national anti-drug addiction program has remained on paper.

The August 26, 1996 Presidential Decree

On August 26th, 1996, Azerbaijani President issued Decree N 487 "On measures to combat drug addiction and illegal narcotics trafficking". This act marks the start of a new stage in combating narcotics in the Republic of Azerbaijan. In accord with the decree, a special government commission was set up to combat drug addiction and illegal narcotics' trafficking. A number of other important measures have been envisioned. The major of them provide for:

- drafting a national program on combating drug addiction and illegal trafficking of narcotics and psychotropic;

- drafting a bill on combating drug addiction and illegal trafficking of narcotics and psychotropic (entrusted to the Government Commission for Legal Reforms at the Azerbaijani President's Office and to the Government Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and Narco-business).

- summarizing the judicial-investigative experience of combating illegal drugs trafficking and implementing concrete measures to remove evident flaws (appropriate instructions and recommendations have been given to the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor's Office, the Internal Affairs and Security Ministries of the Azerbaijani Republic).

Organizational International Law Measures

International law measures are organizational measures in the field of international cooperation. They are expected to involve the Republic of Azerbaijan in the global anti-narcotics campaign. Certain steps have been taken toward this end.

Internal Affairs Ministries of 12 former USSR republics, Azerbaijan included, signed an information exchange agreement in the town of Cholpan-Ate, Kyrgyzstan, in August of 1992[152].

On 28th October, 1992, Milli Majlis, Azerbaijan's parliament, ruled that the Republic join the 1988 U. N. Convention on combating illegal drug and psychotropic trafficking.

At the same time, in Kiev CIS countries, Georgia, Estonia and Azerbaijan signed an agreement on cooperation in the effort to combat narcotics and psychotropic trafficking.

From February 17th to 21st 1997, Baku was the site of the 32rd session of the Sub-commission on Drug Trafficking in the Middle East and South West Asia, which discussed ways of implementing the U.N. Drug Control Program( UNDCP).

The session, in which over 120 representatives of 19 UNDCP Sub-commission member-countries, eight observer-countries, and seven international organizations participated, noted that the situation in the region was adversely affected by the global changes in the drug trafficking and by the growing influence of organized narco-business, cultivation, production, trafficking, distribution and consumption of drugs in various countries. Drug-related crime, above all, international terrorism, separatism, and arms trade have assumed threatening proportions and can push some countries off the path of economic development, cause social and economic instability, undermine moral and social foundations in society, and bring an ever greater number of young people into drug trafficking.

This prompted speakers to put forward a number of proposals on closer cooperation between states in the region and their law enforcement agencies in the work of combating narcotics and psychotropic trafficking, on a better coordination of interstate actions against drug trafficking and addiction, on a faster solution of interstate legal assistance issues, on information exchange between customs, border, medical, educational, financial and law enforcement agencies, on proper international control over narcotics trafficking, on timely solution of drug dealers' extradition issues, and on stronger customs and border barriers to drug trafficking.

It was acknowledged that the violation of state borders and territorial integrity created new drug trafficking itineraries. Organized armed criminal groups transit through occupied lands carrying large shipments of drugs, and use those territories for drug production and for growing drug-bearing plants.

Other issues for discussion were: 1) illegal drugs' trafficking by sea and contraband in containers, 2) a cooperation mechanism and regional activity principles, 3) exchange of views and information on criminal organizations involved in growing, processing, producing, and trafficking of narcotics in the region.

This author of this book in particular made a number of concrete proposals regarding: 1) safeguarding youth against drug addiction, 2) preventing juveniles from being drawn to narcotics, 3) anonymous treatment and rehabilitation of drug abusers. He also called on regional countries to deny political asylum and other assistance to persons charged with and searched for drug-related crimes, and to denounce any violation of national boundaries and territorial integrity by the international community.

The author outlined these proposals in the draft of what was called "The Baku agreement on regional cooperation in combating illegal cultivation, production, trafficking, and consumption of narcotics and psychotropic and their precursors.". The Azerbaijanian delegation submitted this draft to the Session, which adopted it as the final document.

In that agreement, briefly called the Baku Accord, the Session urged the states in the region a) to consider the possibility of ensuring anonymity for any drug addict, undergoing medical examination, treatment, and rehabilitation for the sake of the traditional retention of a family secret (p. 12); b) to make it easier to extradite persons, charged with drug-crimes involving drug-trafficking and refrain from granting political asylum and other forms of protection to such persons (p. 14); c) to recognize that the termination of effective measures to uphold sovereignty in any part of a country due to internal unrest, foreign occupation or for other reasons can cause adverse consequences for anti-drug trafficking activity, carried out by customs, border, and law enforcement bodies, since this can trigger an illegal transit shipment of narcotics, and d) to denounce any violation of national boundaries and territorial integrity (p. 15).

Simultaneously, the Session passed an appropriate resolution and proposed that the U.N. Secretary General distribute the Accord among all the U.N. member-states as a reference document of a General Assembly's Special Session on International Control over Drugs, planned to be held in June 1998.

It is essential to point out that the Republic of Azerbaijan is a member of the International Association for Combating Drug Addiction and Narco-business.

These have so far been the initial efforts to integrate the independent Republic of Azerbaijan in the world community's actions to counter narcotics. Further on, Azerbaijan will expand, deepen, and perfect international cooperation in this field largely by bringing the republic's legislation in line with the present-day requirements of international law.


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