Forest and Wildlife Law Enforcement in Central Africa

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  • Départements

    Une tonne d’ivoire confisquée (LAGA)

    Following the LAGA model, Conservation Justice works to improve the level of wildlife law enforcement for elephant and other endangered species (particularly the ivory trade) through a concerted and comprehensive approach involving five main stages.

    • INVESTIGATIONS – Investigators, undercover agents and informers gather precise information so that traffickers can be arrested in the act, producing concrete evidence for the courts.
    • OPERATIONS – The project technically assists authorities and the forces of law and order to arrest violators and to channel complaint reports to the courts. The project closely supports operations in the field.
    • LEGAL ASSISTANCE – The project has a legal team that assists in the administrative procedures of prosecuting the legal cases arising from these operations. This follows the process from the police report through the entire courts procedure and on to the monitoring of prisoners serving sentences.
    • MEDIA – The project puts reports in national TV news, national radio news and written press concerning the success of the operations and positive court rulings. The Gabonese media informs the public that the law is actively enforced, thereby achieving education of the public on the change, increased deterrent, and perception of the illegal trade as a criminal activity.
    • TRAINING – The project will organize training sessions on the wildlife law and judicial process for magistrates, police forces, customs agents, and agents of the ministry in charge of wildlife. It will improve skills, deepen understanding of the illicit ivory trade, and increase inter-service collaboration between partners.

  • Investigations

    Ivory workshop
    Ivory workshop in Libreville

    The INVESTIGATIONS Departmentworks thanls to investigators who uncover patterns in illegal wildlife traffic and obtain enough information for Gabonese authorities to act upon

    Investigations are achieved in the whole Gabon, and in other countries when links are identified.

    Investigators are paid according to their resultats through a system of bonus.

  • Opérations/arrestations

    Arrestation d’un délinquant par la gendarmerie et les eaux et forêts

    Legal experts, investigators and forestry agents collaborate with Gabonese police forces (Gendarmerie NationalePolice Judiciaire) in order to have wildlife dealers, traffickers and major poachers arrested and brought before justice.

    The project’s team is present in the field in all levels of the operation, monitoring activities and paying special attention to identifying obstacles and preventing corruption attempts. It is very important that arrests are planned in the act so that the perpetrators’ guilt is not in doubt, and that our agents be protected and their identity concealed so that they can continue to be effective.

  • Legal follow

    • Legal book by Conservation Justice
      Legal book by Conservation Justice

      The project’s legal advisers assist forestry agents with writing the complaint report to avoid errors, deal with expected weaknesses of the case, and strengthen the legal arguments. The legal advisors start their work on a case before the operation by preparing the legal system for receiving the case and evaluating threats of corruption and governance problems. The legal advisors are frequently in the field in the time of operation and are often accompanying the arrest and interrogation. They are supervising the transmission of the case to court and communicate with the legal unit of the ministry and the administrative side of the court to insure understanding and identify possible problem.

    • They sensitize the administrative side of the legal system through meetings and distribution of materials, and soliciting high level of supervision to ensure good governance in court procedures
    • The legal department follows up all cases on a daily basis by two legal advisers to ensure good governance in court procedure and  that expertise is permanently available to follow through all prosecutions. The advisors will communicate directly with the courts and prosecution service, providing advice on all relevant legal matters as well as scrutiny to ensure that the defendant makes no attempt at corruption.
    • As part of the project’s comprehensive legal follow-up activities, offenders who are convicted and sentenced to a jail term are visited regularly to ensure that custodial sentences are served in full and to monitor human rights issues whilst they are in custody.

  • Média

    CNN article

    The media officer produces articles, audio and video pieces on current successful law enforcement activities.
    The Gabonese media informs the public that the law is actively enforced, thereby achieving education of the public on the change, increased deterrent, and perception of the illegal bushmeat trade as a criminal activity.