Ivory traffickers found not guilty

by Luc Mathot
Ivory traffickers found not guilty


Six points of ivories, a panther skin and skin golden cat had been seized by the judicial police in Oyem Thursday, November 20th. Two traffickers, MBA OWONO Sylvain and Jerome MEZUI Mendong, Gabonese nationals, were caugth in the act of transportation, illegal detention and attempt of marketing trophies from fully protected species and 458 caliber bullets, though prohibited by law.

They had been in custody and presented to the prosecutor for their crimes. Curiously, the concerned were found not guilty by the judges for offenses, and one of them was sentenced only to one month in prison for illegal detention of 458 caliber bullets.

Gabon has embarked on an ambitious development program based on the valuation and sustainable management of natural resources. In this context, national parks and natural heritage (including wildlife) deserve real protection with the support of various state services.

These court decisions unfortunately are contrary to government policy and the fight against environmental crime. The application of the law remains a necessary condition for good governance and only judges may well deter offenders with independence and transparency. The work of police and prosecutors may be undermined by the decisions of the judges, which inevitably demotivate the efforts made.