Day, Month, YearSaudi Arabia and Key Provisions on Mutual Assistance and Extradition in the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances United Nations Convention against illicit Traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, 1988 strengthened the fight against use and distribution of illicit drugs all over the world. To achieve this end, the convention sought to make it more difficult for culprits to enjoy the benefits of trade in drugs no matter their country of residence. Consequently, the convention specifically aimed to make the war against drugs international.
Besides making resolutions dealing with exchange of information among states, the convention also made key provisions related to mutual assistance and extradition contained in article 6 and article 7 respectively. Saudi Arabia was one of the signatories and a party to the convention and is one of the most aggressive states in eliminating drug abuse and trafficking. Although Saudi Arabia lacks extradition treaties with many countries its largely religious shariah laws, various bilateral and multilateral drug enforcement and cooperation agreements, intelligence-sharing programs among other ways has given effect to the conventions articles on extradition and mutual legal assistance.
Consequently, its cases of reported incidences of drug trafficking are lower than in most other states signatories to the 1988 convention. However, efforts are still required especially concerning various domestic laws and especially in acceding to more extradition treaties. The paper thus aims to determine to what extent Saudi Arabia, which is a signatory to the treaty has given strength to the convention. In order to determine The 1988 convention was an improvement on the 1961 convention on narcotic drugs. Among its articles, the provisions on extradition and mutual assistance were two of its major elements.
The convention recognized the international nature of most drug related crimes. It largely noted that international cooperation was necessary if it was to suppress international trade in narcotics and psychotropic substances. Besides, the conference noted that eradication of illegal traffic of such drugs was a collective responsibility of all states and thus there was need for coordinating action within an international cooperation framework. Additionally, the conference observed that to fight illicit drug trade, existing treaties on fight against drugs ought to be recognized and effective legal means for international cooperation against illicit traffic developed.
It is within such a framework that provisions of article 6 on extradition and article 7 on mutual legal assistance were included in the convention. Firstly, the convention recognized the need for a resolution on exchange of information, which was drawn from the 1961 United Nations conference on adoption of a single convention on narcotic drugs. The resolution aimed at recognizing the need to acquire technical information on international traffickers. The conference recommended having machinery in place to allow timely exchange of information on traffickers and various investigations worldwide.
Consequently, the convention aimed to ensure that in carrying out various obligations contained in the various articles, the nation states must carry out such obligations within some basic principles. Firstly, the convention recognized that for successful implementation of the provisions, all parties were to carry out administrative and legislative procedures conforming to domestic legislative system. Furthermore, it also recognized the need to uphold various principles such as territorial integrity, sovereignty and non-intervention in other state affairs besides performing only those activities that are within a countries jurisdiction as provided by its domestic laws (United Nations, 1988).
In carrying out legislative measures, Saudi Arabia as with other nations was to establish its own laws in support of the convention and in the fight against various noted drug related offences.