oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - The historical development of international legal measures to suppress illicit drug trafficking

Volume 30, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



The international drug control system created by multi-lateral drug control conventions consists effectively of two sub-systems: the international legal regime to regulate the lawful production, distribution and consumption of drugs (thus defining the lawful activities that can be pursued with respect to drugs); and the international legal regime which is aimed specifically at suppressing illicit activities relating to drugs. This article charts the early development of the international legal regime for the suppression of illicit drug trafficking under the League of Nations so as to place its later development under the United Nations in historical context. The body of the article examines the substantive legal provisions of the 1936 Convention for the Suppression of the Illicit Traffic in Dangerous Drugs and investigates why these early measures were either restrained or, when more robust, had little practical effect. What light this throws on the prospects for success of later measures, especially those in the 1988 UN Drug Trafficking Convention is then considered.

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