“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.
A regional conference under the title “Drug Policy after the UNGASS2016” is organized by “Diogenis – Drug Policy Dialogue” in the city of Thessaloniki, on June 2-4, at Holiday Inn Hotel.
The conference aims to inform NGOs, policy makers and researchers from the region of South-Eastern Europe working in the field of drugs, on the outcome of the Special Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGASS) held on 19-21 April New York (USA). The main topic of discussion will be the final text adopted by the UNGASS: «Our common commitment to effectively address the world drug problem”. Our proposal is to deepen in four points of the final document, which relate to the action that needs to be developed in our region over the next two years.
a. The future of harm reduction and treatment in South East Europe. How can the appeal of UNGASS be implemented in the region?
b. The availability of internationally controlled drugs for medical and scientific purposes. What is the current situation in the region? What should be done to meet the requirement of adequate availability?
c. The challenge of new psychoactive substances. The existing legislation in the countries of our region and sharing good practices.
d. Practices and policy of cannabis in Southeastern Europe.
The conference will be held in English language and you can see the full program here.
From 1-3 October 2015 a regional conference on “the UNGASS 2016 and its significance for SEE” has been organised by DIOGENIS Association, Drug policy Dialogue in SEE. The aim of the conference was to inform the participants about the preparations of the UNGASS by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) and the contributions to the discussion of the United Nations Office on drugs and Crime (UNODC) and other UN Entities, the contribution of the European Union and of Non-Governmental organisations.
The Informal Dialogue on Drug Policy focused on the following issues
a. recent developments in drug policy in the SEE countries,
b. the shift from a punitive attitude to a human rights and public health oriented approach in future drug policy
c.the collaboration between competent government authorities and civil society in South Eastern Europe, the action Plan on Drugs between the EU and the countries of the Western Balkans,
d.towards the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS), main discussion items.
The 5th Regional Informal Drug Policy Dialogue in South East Europe organised by the Association Diogenis, has been held in Kalampaka, Greece from 20-23 June 2013.
At the dialogue participated 35 representatives of non-governmental organizations, academics, representatives from competent bodies responsible for the policy on drugs and professionals in the field of drugs, from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia. At the dialogue participated also representatives of the “Correlation” European Harm Reduction Network, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and of the United Nations Regional Office of on Drugs and Crime in Tirana, Albania.
The Dialogue was funded by the European Commission and the Open Society Foundations, aiming at an open and wide-ranging exchange of views and experiences among participants and included five sessions on drug policy in South East Europe. The first session discussed developments in drug legislation of the countries of SE Europe. An overview of the new law on addictive substances recently adopted and entered into force in Greece was presented, followed by a presentation of the common general characteristics of drug policy and drug legislation in the countries of Europe, in view of the recent publication issued by Association Diogenis in the framework of the Drug Law Reform Project in SE Europe. The second session was devoted to the new European Strategy (2013-2020) and the new Action Plan for the period 2013-2016. The third session discussed the Action Plan on Drugs between the European Commission and the Western Balkans. In the fourth session, the discussion moved around services on Harm Reduction and the activities of NGOs in South East Europe. In the fifth session, the possibilities of NGOs to develop joint initiatives in the wider Balkan region have been examined.
You can read the report here.