A verdict of TPI Kaloum decried (Guinea)


Vision Guinée

Date Published
Translated from French by an automated online translation service, so please excuse the roughness. See link for original. Thank you to Anne Dillon for both volunteering her time to find these French articles and doing the online translating.


See link for photos.

On Tuesday, July 19, 2016, the higher level court (TPI) of Kaloum returned its verdict on the file of the family Sidimé, followed for trafficking ivory. Four of the defendants were acknowledged to be guilty and condemned to six months of prison supplied with deferments, and the two others were released. For wildlife trafficking experts and the international community, this decision is weak considering the gravity of the infringement.

After a long judicial soap opera on the record of the trafficking of ivory, the higher level court (TPI) of Kaloum gave its final verdict on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. N’ Kaye Sidimé, Tinder Sidimé, Mohamed Lamine Sidimé, Sidikiba Sidimé, Mamadi Doumbouya and Mohamed Lamine Soumah, sculptors by profession, were prosecuted for trafficking elephant ivory.

The case dates back to May 2012 when the NCB Interpol, in collaboration with the sworn agents of the Forestry under the guidance of the Deputy Prosecutor with the support of GALF (Guinea-Application of the Wildlife Act), had arrested twenty-eight people in the Sidimé workshop, and put into custody the six suspected traffickers. They had been caught possessing and marketing 999 carved ivory objects. Two raw elephant tusks and 33,000 U.S. dollars were seized.

Given the scarcity of elephants in Guinea, it is clear that this amount of ivory is not from Guinea. To believe our sources, this Sidimé family is part of a major cartel of ivory trafficking in Africa, with more branches of its illegal activities in several countries.

In previous hearings, the Ministry of Environment as a civil party by the judicial officer of the State had largely explained both economic and environmental damage caused by the illegal activities of traffickers. And later, he pleaded for the Guinean State on public action to enforce the law and civil action for the payment of 500,000,000 GNF for damages and interest to the Guinean State.

For him, the weak law enforcement and corruption tainting the fight against wildlife crime, constitute an obstacle to the lifting of the sanction of the CITES Convention, which still hangs over Guinea in the eyes of the international community.

As for the public prosecutor’s office, it had already responded on the matter to the multiple actions of the defense basing its reasoning on the ignorance of the law by its customers and the irresponsibility of the Guinean State to publicize the law. Thus, the prosecutor required six months in prison and payment of a fine of 90.000 GNF. Regarding the amount seized amounting to 33,000 U.S. dollars, he had required its confiscation in order to pour it in to the Treasury.

Thus, in his deliberations of Tuesday, July 19, 2016, the usher president gave his verdict as follows: Nkaye Sidimé, Mamadi Doumbouya, Amadou Sidibé and Sidikiba Sidimé were recognized guilty and sentenced to six months in prison with probation and to pay 90,000 almond GNF.

In the civil action, he requested an amount paid of 10.000.000 GNF under damages. A substantial portion of the seals composed of 999 objects of carved ivory, and two raw elephant tusks must be returned to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. As for the other defendants namely Mohamed Lamine Soumah and Mohamed Lamine Sidimé (the owner of the $33,000 U.S.), the judge ordered their release by restoring the full amount seized to the owner.

Already, experts and international players are starting to be heard in relation to this judicial decision that they believe is low and offers little deterrent compared to the gravity of the acts of the accused.

A speaker insists: “They were arrested with 999 ivory objects; not only they were not sentenced to prison when they are big traffickers who together form a network leader of trafficked ivory, they smuggle large quantities. And further, all this money from the traffic itself is returned to them. The ivory is like drugs today, it’s as if they arrested a drug dealer with a large sum of money and then gave him back the money from the trafficking . . .” Therefore, he continues, “the sum must be confiscated and poured in the treasury as had been requested by the public prosecutor’s office.”

It is recalled that Guinea was long cited at international meetings on trade in species and the UN CITES as a global leader in the import and export of illegal animal species. Thus, such court decisions are not likely to deter traffickers and will only worsen the image deterioration of Guinea to the international community.

For the latest information, the prosecutor usher at the higher level court (TPI) Kaloum and the civil party intend to hear an appeal following the decision.

The illegal wildlife trade is a transnational organized crime. It occupies the fifth place of illicit trade in the world, amassing profits of about $20 billion each year.