The 33rd meeting of the Coordinating Council of Prosecutors General of the CIS member States is being held at the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Delegations from Prosecutor Generals’ Offices of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan, as well as the CIS Executive Committee and the CIS CCPG Secretariat are attending the meeting.
The event discusses topical issues of cooperation, including in the field of protection of human rights and freedoms, joint measures to combat terrorism and other violent manifestations of extremism, and other areas of prosecutorial activity.
In his report, Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus Andrei Shved told his colleagues about the practice of bringing to criminal responsibility persons who committed violent offences against citizens at the behest of drug dealers in order to ensure illicit drug trafficking.
The head of the supervisory agency of Belarus noted that the spread of drug addiction is recognised as a threat to demographic security and health of the nation. He stressed that due to changes in the international situation associated with a significant increase in the production of synthetic drugs, the republic had implemented a number of amendments and additions to the national legislation aimed, among other things, at preventing drug use. In particular, the procedure of forming and amending the Republican List of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and their Precursors Subject to State Control in the Republic of Belarus has been established. The said List is now amended within a few days from the moment a new narcotic drug appears anywhere in the world.
Andrei Shved informed about the introduction in Belarus of liability for public drugs consumption (Article 17.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences), restriction of the sale of poppy seeds (Decree of the President of the Republic of Belarus No. 1 of 14 January 2014 “On some issues of state regulation of the turnover of poppy seeds”).
“The Decree the President of the Republic of Belarus “On urgent measures to combat drug trafficking” of December 2014, as well as amendments and additions to the Criminal Code contributed to the identification and disclosure of such crimes. The key provisions were lowering the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 14 years and increasing sanctions for offences related to drug sale,” the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus stated. “In general, the measures taken more than five years ago helped stabilise the situation and put a barrier to the spread of so-called “spice”.
Along with this, Andrei Shved drew the attention of his colleagues to the fact that last year Belarus faced a new form of committing crimes: drug stores began to actively involve young people in their illegal activities, including “knocking out” of debts from drug couriers.
For example, online drug shops found perpetrators by sending out offers in messengers and social networks. On the instructions of the organisers of the drug business, the teenagers severely beat the “guilty” drug couriers, inflicting dozens of blows with wooden bats and metal bars. It got to the point that one girl had her finger phalanx cut off. The victims were usually drop-off drug deliverers who had embezzled drugs intended for sale. The beatings and torture were recorded on video and broadcast on the Internet to intimidate other drug couriers. In the process of torture, victims were forced to apologise to the drug shop they had defrauded. In fact, the criminal groups created security services made up of young people willing to commit any crime for money.
“The mentioned actions were initially qualified as infliction of bodily injuries, taking into account the severity of the consequences. However, in August 2022, on the initiative of the Prosecutor General’s Office, a decision was taken to bring the above persons to criminal liability for a combination of crimes, including for drug trafficking as part of an organised group,” said the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus. – If there is sufficient evidence indicating their knowledge of their involvement in organized criminal activities for the sale of prohibited substances, they will be charged with all the revealed facts of drug trafficking from the moment of their participation in the activities of the organised group”.
In the past period of 2023, Belarusian courts handed down five guilty verdicts against 29 persons whose actions were qualified, among other things, as trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances as part of an organized group. Based on the totality of the offences, the defendants were sentenced to deprivation of liberty for a term of 11 to 15 years.
“At present, the Republic of Belarus has developed a unified approach to fully ensure the principle of inevitability of criminal responsibility,” summarised Andrei Shved.
The agenda of the 33rd meeting of the CIS CCPG includes decisions that will contribute to the strengthening of cooperation between the Prosecutor Generals’ Offices of the CIS member States and increase the efficiency of joint work.
As part of the event, Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus Andrei Shved and Prosecutor General of the Republic of Azerbaijan Kamran Aliyev had a working meeting, during which the heads of the supervisory agencies discussed legal assistance in criminal matters, extradition of persons who committed crimes, and other aspects of bilateral cooperation.
The meeting participants also took part in a tree planting ceremony in the Central Park of Baku, after which the heads of delegations visited the Heydar Aliyev Memorial and the Alley of Heroes.
The next meeting of the CIS CCPG is scheduled to be held in autumn of 2024 in Yerevan, Republic of Armenia.
Photo: Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Belarus
Department for Interaction
with Mass Media and Editorial Work
of the Prosecutor General’s Office