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.
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.