Fight against wildlife crime: a decision of the Cotonou court encourages ivory traffickers (Benin)


AALF Benin

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.

A judge of the county court of Cotonou released three traffickers who specialized in the manufacturing and sale of art objects containing ivory. These traffickers had been apprehended by the judicial police on Monday, July 4, 2016, in the zone of the Guézo camp in Cotonou, with the participation of the program, Support the Application of Laws on Fauna and Flora of Benin. The traffickers had objects on them having a total weight of about ten kilograms.

On Wednesday, July 27, 2016, at the end of the hearing to decide their fate, the judge sentenced these traffickers to three months’ imprisonment with suspension and fines of 20.000F CFA. This decision has no effect on these traffickers, already in freedom.

The Government is resolutely engaged in the fight against wildlife crime. The judge in charge of this case, for taking this decision, undermines not only the wing of the Government, but also those who are fighting daily for the protection of the protected species in the parks W and Pendjari. This decision hardly frightens those dealers who will not hesitate to sponsor other slaughters of elephants in parks for the raw material in order to continue operations. And this raw material is ivory.

We can say that this decision encourages the slaughter of elephants, a fully protected species. According to the second paragraph of Article 153 of Law No. 2002-16 of October 18, 2004, on the regime of wildlife in the Republic of Benin and its bylaw, one who circulates trophies or remains without certificate of origin is punishable by a fine of 100,000 to 500,000F and / or imprisonment from three months to three years. Punishable by a fine of 300,000 to 800,000F and / or imprisonment of six months to five years is anyone who imports, exports, re-exports, or sells wild animals or their trophies and remains outside the permitted cases stipulated in the fourth paragraph of Article 154 of the Act. While the judge is independent and takes decisions according to their personal conviction, decisions like that taken in this case contribute to emptying the parks and protected areas of their content.