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Council Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA of 25 october 2004 laying down minimum provisions on the constituent elements of criminal acts and penalties in the field of illicit drug trafficking

Date of Adoption : 25 October 2004
Date of Entry into Force of this version : 12 November 2004
Keywords : Licit Trade, Illicit activities

Legal text

FR EN

Council Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA of 25 october 2004 laying down minimum provisions on the constituent elements of criminal acts and penalties in the field of illicit drug trafficking

Official Journal L 335, 11/11/2004 p. 8.

THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty on European Union, and in particular Article 31(e) and Article 34(2)(b) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission [1],

Having regard to the opinion of the European Parliament [2],

Whereas:

(1) Illicit drug trafficking poses a threat to health, safety and the quality of life of citizens of the European Union, and to the legal economy, stability and security of the Member States.

(2) The need for legislative action to tackle illicit drug trafficking has been recognised in particular in the Action Plan of the Council and the Commission on how best to implement the provisions of the Amsterdam Treaty on an area of freedom, security and justice [3], adopted by the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Vienna on 3 December 1998, the conclusions of the Tampere European Council of 15 and 16 October 1999, in particular point 48 thereof, the European Union's Drugs Strategy (2000-2004) endorsed by the Helsinki European Council from 10 to 12 December 1999 and the European Union's Action Plan on Drugs (2000-2004) endorsed by the European Council in Santa Maria da Feira on 19 and 20 June 2000.

(3) It is necessary to adopt minimum rules relating to the constituent elements of the offences of illicit trafficking in drugs and precursors which will allow a common approach at European Union level to the fight against such trafficking.

(4) By virtue of the principle of subsidiarity, European Union action should focus on the most serious types of drug offence. The exclusion of certain types of behaviour as regards personal consumption from the scope of this Framework Decision does not constitute a Council guideline on how Member States should deal with these other cases in their national legislation.

(5) Penalties provided for by the Member States should be effective, proportionate and dissuasive, and include custodial sentences. To determine the level of penalties, factual elements such as the quantities and the type of drugs trafficked, and whether the offence was committed within the framework of a criminal organisation, should be taken into account.

(6) Member States should be allowed to make provision for reducing the penalties when the offender has supplied the competent authorities with valuable information.

(7) It is necessary to take measures to enable the confiscation of the proceeds of the offences referred to in this Framework Decision.

(8) Measures should be taken to ensure that legal persons can be held liable for the criminal offences referred to by this Framework Decision which are committed for their benefit.

(9) The effectiveness of the efforts made to tackle illicit drug trafficking depends essentially on the harmonisation of the national measures implementing this Framework Decision,

HAS DECIDED AS FOLLOWS:

Article 1

Definitions

For the purposes of this Framework Decision:

1. "drugs": shall mean any of the substances covered by the following United Nations Conventions:

(a) the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (as amended by the 1972 Protocol);

(b) the 1971 Vienna Convention on Psychotropic Substances. It shall also include the substances subject to controls under Joint Action 97/396/JHA of 16 June 1997 concerning the information exchange risk assessment and the control of new synthetic drugs [4];

2. "precursors": shall mean any substance scheduled in the Community legislation giving effect to the obligations deriving from Article 12 of the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 20 December 1988;

3. "legal person": shall mean any legal entity having such status under the applicable national law, except for States or other public bodies acting in the exercise of their sovereign rights and for public international organisations.

Article 2

Crimes linked to trafficking in drugs and precursors

1. Each Member State shall take the necessary measures to ensure that the following intentional conduct when committed without right is punishable:

(a) the production, manufacture, extraction, preparation, offering, offering for sale, distribution, sale, delivery on any terms whatsoever, brokerage, dispatch, dispatch in transit, transport, importation or exportation of drugs;

(b) the cultivation of opium poppy, coca bush or cannabis plant;

(c) the possession or purchase of drugs with a view to conducting one of the activities listed in (a);

(d) the manufacture, transport or distribution of precursors, knowing that they are to be used in or for the illicit production or manufacture of drugs.

2. The conduct described in paragraph 1 shall not be included in the scope of this Framework Decision when it is committed by its perpetrators exclusively for their own personal consumption as defined by national law.

Article 3

Incitement, aiding and abetting and attempt

1. Each Member State shall take the necessary measures to make incitement to commit, aiding and abetting or attempting one of the offences referred to in Article 2 a criminal offence.

2. A Member State may exempt from criminal liability the attempt to offer or prepare drugs referred to in Article 2(1)(a) and the attempt to possess drugs referred to in Article 2(1)(c).

Article 4

Penalties

1. Each Member State shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the offences defined in Articles 2 and 3 are punishable by effective, proportionate and dissuasive criminal penalties.

Each Member State shall take the necessary measures to ensure that the offences referred to in Article 2 are punishable by criminal penalties of a maximum of at least between one and three years of imprisonment.

2. Each Member State shall take the necessary measures to ensure that the offences referred to in Article 2(1)(a), (b) and (c) are punishable by criminal penalties of a maximum of at least between 5 and 10 years of imprisonment in each of the following circumstances:

(a) the offence involves large quantities of drugs;

(b) the offence either involves those drugs which cause the most harm to health, or has resulted in significant damage to the health of a number of persons.

3. Each Member State shall take the necessary measures to ensure that the offences referred to in paragraph 2 are punishable by criminal penalties of a maximum of at least 10 years of deprivation of liberty, where the offence was committed within the framework of a criminal organisation as defined in Joint Action 98/733/JHA of 21 December 1998 on making it a criminal offence to participate in a criminal organisation in the Member States of the European Union [5].

4. Each Member State shall take the necessary measures to ensure that the offences referred to in Article 2(1)(d) are punishable by criminal penalties of a maximum of at least between 5 and 10 years of deprivation of liberty, where the offence was committed within the framework of a criminal organisation as defined in Joint Action 98/733/JHA and the precursors are intended to be used in or for the production or manufacture of drugs under the circumstances referred to in paragraphs 2(a) or (b).

5. Without prejudice to the rights of victims and of other bona fide third parties, each Member State shall take the necessary measures to enable the confiscation of substances which are the object of offences referred to in Articles 2 and 3, instrumentalities used or intended to be used for these offences and proceeds from these offences or the confiscation of property the value of which corresponds to that of such proceeds, substances or instrumentalities.

The terms "confiscation", "instrumentalities", "proceeds" and "property" shall have the same meaning as in Article 1 of the 1990 Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime.

Article 5

Particular circumstances

Notwithstanding Article 4, each Member State may take the necessary measures to ensure that the penalties referred to in Article 4 may be reduced if the offender:

(a) renounces criminal activity relating to trafficking in drugs and precursors, and

(b) provides the administrative or judicial authorities with information which they would not otherwise have been able to obtain, helping them to:

(i) prevent or mitigate the effects of the offence,

(ii) identify or bring to justice the other offenders,

(iii) find evidence, or

(iv) prevent further offences referred to in Articles 2 and 3.

Article 6

Liability of legal persons

1. Each Member State shall take the necessary measures to ensure that legal persons can be held liable for any of the criminal offences referred to in Articles 2 and 3 committed for their benefit by any person, acting either individually or as a member of an organ of the legal person in question, who has a leading position within the legal person, based on one of the following:

(a) a power of representation of the legal person;

(b) an authority to take decisions on behalf of the legal person;

(c) an authority to exercise control within the legal person.

2. Apart from the cases provided for in paragraph 1, each Member State shall take the necessary measures to ensure that legal persons can be held liable where the lack of supervision or control by a person referred to in paragraph 1 has made possible the commission of any of the offences referred to in Articles 2 and 3 for the benefit of that legal person by a person under its authority.

3. Liability of legal persons under paragraphs 1 and 2 shall not exclude criminal proceedings against natural persons who are perpetrators, instigators or accessories in any of the offences referred to in Articles 2 and 3.

Article 7

Sanctions for legal persons

1. Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that a legal person held liable pursuant to Article 6(1) is punishable by effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions, which shall include criminal or non-criminal fines and may include other sanctions, such as:

(a) exclusion from entitlement to tax relief or other benefits or public aid;

(b) temporary or permanent disqualification from the pursuit of commercial activities;

(c) placing under judicial supervision;

(d) a judicial winding-up order;

(e) temporary or permanent closure of establishments used for committing the offence;

(f) in accordance with Article 4(5), the confiscation of substances which are the object of offences referred to in Articles 2 and 3, instrumentalities used or intended to be used for these offences and proceeds from these offences or the confiscation of property the value of which corresponds to that of such proceeds, substances or instrumentalities.

2. Each Member State shall take the necessary measures to ensure that a legal person held liable pursuant to Article 6(2) is punishable by effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions or measures.

Article 8

Jurisdiction and prosecution

1. Each Member State shall take the necessary measures to establish its jurisdiction over the offences referred to in Articles 2 and 3 where:

(a) the offence is committed in whole or in part within its territory;

(b) the offender is one of its nationals; or

(c) the offence is committed for the benefit of a legal person established in the territory of that Member State.

2. A Member State may decide that it will not apply, or that it will apply only in specific cases or circumstances, the jurisdiction rules set out in paragraphs 1(b) and 1(c) where the offence is committed outside its territory.

3. A Member State which, under its laws, does not extradite its own nationals shall take the necessary measures to establish its jurisdiction over and to prosecute, where appropriate, an offence referred to in Articles 2 and 3 when it is committed by one of its own nationals outside its territory.

4. Member States shall inform the General Secretariat of the Council and the Commission when they decide to apply paragraph 2, where appropriate with an indication of the specific cases or circumstances in which the decision applies.

Article 9

Implementation and reports

1. Member States shall take the necessary measures to comply with the provisions of this Framework Decision by 12 May 2006.

2. By the deadline referred to in paragraph 1, Member States shall transmit to the General Secretariat of the Council and to the Commission the text of the provisions transposing into their national law the obligations imposed on them under this Framework Decision. The Commission shall, by 12 May 2009, submit a report to the European Parliament and to the Council on the functioning of the implementation of the Framework Decision, including its effects on judicial cooperation in the field of illicit drug trafficking. Following this report, the Council shall assess, at the latest within six months after submission of the report, whether Member States have taken the necessary measures to comply with this Framework Decision.

Article 10

Territorial application

This Framework Decision shall apply to Gibraltar.

Article 11

Entry into force

This Framework Decision shall enter into force on the day following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Done at Luxembourg, 25 October 2004.

For the Council

The President

R. Verdonk

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[1] OJ C 304 E, 30.10.2001, p. 172.

[2] Opinion of 9 March 2004 (not yet published in the Official Journal).

[3] OJ C 19, 23.1.1999, p. 1.

[4] OJ L 167, 25.6.1997, p. 1.

[5] OJ L 351, 29.12.1998, p. 1.

Page last updated: Tuesday, 07 July 2015