Put The Judiciary to Work.

Posted by in Conservation

Appeals to improperly sentenced wildlife trafficking cases have the power to create change. Kenya has done it, now Uganda. What we need are “wildlife enforcement legal teams” hired by the head of state to review all current (and perhaps recently closed) cases of wildlife sentencing in county and other courts. They obtain and review current docket of wildlife incidents and cases to determine if the rulings are/were indeed proper.

If the magistrate/judiciary in these counties failed or fails to uphold specific CITES or country specific wildlife laws, this team appeals the ruling and re-prosecutes to the letter of the law because they are authorized to do so by the head of government.

This is an insurance policy to ensure that laws to protect wildlife are indeed followed. In addition, it also can generate additional sources of revenue based upon proper (larger) fines for harm to wildlife. I can only think that this effort could pay for a whole program initiative, as well as put some money back in toward conservation efforts. No need to sell ivory stockpiles here.

This forces the magistrate to not only learn what the laws actually are, but to be responsible to uphold proper rulings based upon laws that are in effect. It is interesting to me that many magistrates aren’t held accountable for their stake in the game. Perhaps they should be held liable or removed from position. Maybe even fined themselves for aiding in a crime. That’s an interesting thought.

The intent of an idea like this is focused on keeping the legal process “clean” and can decrease costs on military style anti-poaching brigades. If there is consistency in law enforcement, it becomes a strong deterrent for would be or known traffickers.

Unfortunately, we are spending so much time talking about what is out of our control when we have yet to fully manage what is in our control – the judiciary. We need to get a better handle on that. Let’s just make sure the teams we put in place aren’t corrupt in and of themselves.

 

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