Groupe Congo Medias
March 9, 2020

See link for photo.

On March 11, 2020, hearings on wildlife crime will begin at the Owando and Ouesso Courts of Appeal. Hearings for requisitions and pleadings.

The first case is that of five suspected ivory traffickers, arrested on February 05, 2019 in Etoumbi in the Department of the West Basin. These individuals, all of Congolese nationality, had been caught in the bag with 41 ivory tusks weighing more than 86 kg. The ivory tusks seized represented a massacre of more than 20 elephants. They are being prosecuted for importation, illegal possession, circulation and marketing of trophies of fully protected animal species (elephant).

The sentences pronounced by the High Court of Ewo against them in this case were qualified as lax by the public prosecutor and the Departmental direction of the Forest Economy of the Cuvette-Ouest. They therefore appealed to the Owando Court of Appeal. It is in this logical sequence that these five alleged wildlife offenders will appear on March 11 in Owando.

The second case concerns six suspected traffickers of wildlife products, arrested on February 27, 2019 in Impfondo in the Department of Likouala, in the act of illegal detention and illegal movement of nine (9) pieces of ivory, a bag of giant pangolin scales and a panther skin. They are also being prosecuted for the importation of said products and the presumption of slaughter of fully protected animal species. It would be a network of suspected traffickers of wildlife products in which we find Central Africans, Congolese from the DRC and those from Brazzaville.

At first instance in Impfondo, exemplary sentences had been imposed. Four of these six traffickers had been sentenced on July 25, 2019, to 18 months in prison, together with five hundred thousand (500,000) FCFA fine and five hundred thousand (500,000) FCFA in damages each. In this case, the appeal had been brought by these defendants before the Ouesso Court of Appeal.

The arrests of all these suspected traffickers of wildlife products were the work of agents of the Departmental Directions of Forest Economy of Cuvette-Ouest and Likouala and elements of the national gendarmerie with the support of PALF (Project of ‘Support to the Application of the Law on Wildlife’).

In the Republic of Congo, the elephant, the panther and the giant pangolin are part of the fully protected animal species, in accordance with Order No. 6075 / MDDEFE / CAB of April 9, 2011 determining the fully and partially protected animal species. Likewise, national legislation, in accordance with article 113 paragraph 6 of Law 37-2008 of 2008, provides for a prison sentence of up to five years and a maximum of five million FCFA against anyone who has imported, exported , marketed or made to transit on national territory wild animals or their trophies in violation of this law or international conventions in force in Congo.