On the occasion of International Human Right’s Day, celebrated each year on December 10th, Civil Society organizations from South East Europe, make a call for change towards human rights’ oriented drug policy.
Worldwide, we have seen large-scale abuses of international human rights in the name of the drug control system. During the last decades, repressive policies – particularly focused in law enforcement – have been the main strategy of addressing the drug phenomenon. This approach is clearly in total contradiction with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948. Among others, the right to life, the right to health, the right to be free from discrimination, the right to an adequate standard of living, the right to due process and a fair trial are violated on a regular basis against a particularly vulnerable and marginalized population, that of people who use drugs. Read more
The NGO “Diogenes – Drug Policy Dialogue” organized the presentation of the new edition “Sentencing of Drug Offenders: Legislators’ Policy and the Practice of the Courts in South Eastern Europe”. The book is edited by Mr. Thanasis Apostolou (Director of ‘Diogenes’) and published by “Sakkoulas Publications”. The event was held on September 27th, 2016 in the Europe Direct hall of the Municipality of Athens.
In the discussion panel chaired by Mrs M. Malliori, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Athens, the participants were:
– Nancy Antonopoulos, PhD Criminology AUTH
(Author of the research for Greece, published in the book)
– Evangelos Zacharias, Appeals Prosecutor, Chief Prosecutor of Piraeus
– Evangelos Kafetzopoulos, neurologist – psychiatrist, President OKANA
– Chris Vettas, director of KETHEA “PROMETHEUS”, Northern Greece
The event was supported by the Europe Direct office of the Municipality of Athens.
You can see the full program here. (Greek)
Representatives of the Drug policy network South East Europe visited Kosovo from 29 to 30 August 2016. The delegation included Thanasis Apostolou, Chairman of the Board, Milutin Milošević, Executive Director and Julijana Daskalov, Financial officer.
Purpose of the visit was to inform a broader public about developments in drug policy in the European Union and worldwide. The overall objective of these public meetings is to involve civil society in the decision making process about drug policy. Besides, that aim was to present DPNSEE to the Kosovo society and build strong relationships with the authorities and exploring possibilities for future co-operation.
On August 29, 2016 a delegation of Diogenis and DPNSEE spent a day in Kosovo (UNSCR 1244/99), meeting with the Civil Society organisations Labyrinth, Foundation together and the Centre for peace and tolerance. This report focusses on the meeting of the 30th of August.
On August 30 the delegation met with the deputy Minister of internal affairs Mr. Nehat Mustafa who is the co-ordinator of the drug policy and the responsible authorities for drug strategy and drug legislation in Kosovo.
“Sentencing of drug offenders, the legislator’s Policy and the Practice of the Courts in South Eastern Europe.”
NGO “Diogenis – Drug Policy Dialogue” has published the book “Sentencing of Drug Offenders: The Legislator’s Policy and the Practice of the Courts in South Eastern Europe”. The publication contains the findings of the research that has been initiated by Diogenis and has been done by researches affiliated with research institutes and law faculties of Universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia.
The purpose of the research was to identify and analyse the development of punitive legislative policy in the countries of South East Europe during the last 10 years and identify sanctioning practices on state and county courts. Cases from one county court were scrutinised to find out which cases were brought before the court, who were the perpetrators and how objective and subjective circumstances were evaluated by the court in sanctioning the convicted persons.
A significant finding of the research is that the judges are interpreting legislation in different ways. There is a small number of judges that impose sanctions which are harsher than the legislator is requiring. There is common practice of some of them that they see drug possession per definition as drug trafficking. The vast majority of the judges, however, is more lenient than the legislator, because they take into consideration all aspects of the situation of the offender (family, social and economic situation, previous convictions etc.) It is more and more common practice that the courts see drug offenders primarily as persons in need of treatment.
You can read the Summary Note here.
The book and the separate country reports are available in electronic form here.