Wildlife law enforcement agencies gain prosecution skills for wildlife law
Despite evidence showing that wildlife crime is linked to other forms of serious crime, most countries have wildlife policies and legislation that do not address poaching and wildlife trafficking. as a serious offense. Due to weak laws, perpetrators of wildlife crimes are never profiled despite their despicable acts of illegal logging and wildlife trafficking.
It is in this response that 30 representatives of Ethiopia’s wildlife protection and law enforcement institutions gather in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for a three-day training on justice and prosecution. . Convened by the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA), the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the training will enhance participants’ skills in detection, treatment and adjudication of wildlife cases in the country.
The training is part of a two-year program, funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and led by IUCN NL (Netherlands National Committee), which is committed to preventing and combating species crime wild in the countries of the Horn of Africa in South Sudan. , Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sudan. The Horn of Africa is emerging as a major region of wildlife crime, both as a source and transit route for illicit wildlife products, mainly ivory, rhino horn , skins of wild animals and live animals.
“Effective law enforcement is one of the important ways to end illegal logging and trafficking in wildlife,” said Henk Simons, senior nature conservation expert at the Dutch National Committee for the IUCN NL. “Other strategies that we focus on in our program are cross-border cooperation and the active engagement of local communities in preventing and combating wildlife crime. “
“Wildlife offenses have become more sophisticated and involve organized crime, weapons and customs offenses. Therefore, there is a need to strengthen all actors in the justice system in the fight against wildlife crime, ”said Ato Girma Timer, Director of Wildlife Protected Areas Development and Protection at EWCA.
Mr. Girma, who officially opened the training on behalf of the EWCA Director General, Mr. Dawud Mume, added: “The training will be fruitful as it has focused on important topics related to cash crime. wild and is provided to the professionals concerned.
Species conservation actors attribute weak enforcement of wildlife laws to the lack of monitoring mechanisms for wildlife crimes. However, insufficient personnel and equipment capacities remain an obstacle to accelerating efforts to reduce threats to the long-term survival of Africa’s iconic species. Elephants, rhinos, great apes and large carnivores are among the species most threatened by illegal killing and trafficking in Ethiopia.
Dr Philip Muruthi, vice president for species conservation at AWF, observed that tackling wildlife crime involves interagency and regional collaboration among other efforts. “Such partnerships improve the effectiveness of illegal interceptions of wildlife products at airports, seaports and border points, they also strengthen criminal prosecutions against wildlife and enable law enforcement in major landscapes. “Said Dr Muruthi.
“Appropriate case management and punitive sentences for wildlife crimes are an essential part of the arrest, investigation, court process and conviction of wildlife criminals,” said James Isiche, Director IFAW East Africa Regional. “This training aims to ensure that judicial and prosecution personnel are well equipped with the capacities required to prosecute wildlife law violators and propose dissuasive penalties,” added Isiche.
Activities during the training include a rapid analysis of Ethiopia’s wildlife policies and laws, and deliberations of stakeholders on their roles and contributions in combating wildlife crime, gaps in legislation on wildlife. wildlife law enforcement and weaknesses in investigations and prosecutions.