International Criminal Law
Drug trafficking, as an act, is best described as a transnational crime, having as it does a cross border element. The drug trade, however, is also closely connected to other areas of transnational crime such as human trafficking and illegal arms trading.
Some core treaties in this regard include:
Drug trafficking is not, by legal definition, an ‘international crime’, and is not subject to universal jurisdiction. But this does not mean that the drug trade is unconnected from such crimes. Funding from drug trafficking may, for example, be used to fund acts of terrorism which in turn may amount to international crimes. The question of the liability of those funding such acts is an important one.
It is also possible that law enforcement activities to fight the drug trade may amount to international crimes. Torture is a clear example, and has been documented regularly against drug suspects in order to extract information or force testimony. Mass killings have also taken place, including during the now notorious Thai war on drugs of 2003 when almost 3,000 people were killed by police.