Workshop held to boost prosecutions of wildlife criminals
Windhoek, Namibia, February 2019—a regional judiciary and prosecutor workshop to assist with improving prosecutions, adjudications, sentencing and case management against wildlife trade criminals took place earlier this month in Windhoek.
The meeting aimed to increase awareness around the seriousness of transnational wildlife crime and unlock higher level support within the prosecutorial and judicial sectors and brought together members of the judiciary, senior prosecutors, and/or advocates from all five countries in the Kavango Zambezi Area (KAZA) region—Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Steps needed to improve international co-operation in criminal matters were examined, including the use of mutual legal assistance and extradition as tools to overcome barriers of sovereignty, differences in legal systems and for countries to assist each other in law enforcement matters.
The workshop was opened by Honourable Deputy Minister Bernadette Maria Jagger of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) in Namibia followed by a presentation on protected areas in Namibia by Colgar Sikopo, Director of Namibia’s Parks and Wildlife Management Department within MET. It was held as part of the USAID-funded Combating Wildlife Crime in the Namibia and Kavango Zambezi Area (KAZA) Project and hosted by the KAZA Secretariat, WWF Namibia and TRAFFIC.
Participants also witnessed a practical session whereby members of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) in Namibia’s wildlife investigation unit and NamPol acted out a search and seizure scene involving the arrest of three people and the search of a vehicle containing contraband such as ammunition, ivory, rhino horn and a hunting rifle.
Watching members of NamPol conducting a search really brought home to me the reality of what investigators and police do in the field. All in all, we learned a great deal and the interactions were awesome
Astrid Hawicke, a prosecutor in Katima Mulilo, Namibia
This workshop was hosted by TRAFFIC, the KAZA TFCA Secretariat and WWF Namibia as part of the “Combating Wildlife Crime in north western Namibia and the Kavango Zambezi Area Project” (CWCP). TRAFFIC plans to host similar workshops in the near future for investigators, prosecutors and magistrates in the five KAZA countries.