European Court of Human Rights - case of Teixeira de Castro v. Portugal (1998) (excerpts)

European Court of Human Rights - case of Teixeira de Castro v. Portugal (1998) (excerpts)

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32.  The Government submitted that a large number of States, including most members of the Council of Europe, accepted the use of special investigative measures, in particular in the fight against drug trafficking. Society had to find techniques for containing that type of criminal activity, which destroyed the foundations of democratic societies. Article 52 of Legislative Decree no. 430/83, which was applicable to the facts of the present case – and indeed the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988 and the Council of Europe Convention of 1990 on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime –, thus allowed the use of undercover agents, whose role had however nothing in common with the activity of “agents provocateurs”. Furthermore, Article 126 §§ 1 and 2 (a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure laid down high standards that had to be met if the means used for obtaining evidence were to be considered legitimate and lawful.