Fight against wildlife crime in Lokossa: Four months for ivory smugglers (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.

The black season for traffickers of species protected by the law continues. After Cotonou and Natitingou, three suspected ivory traffickers were sentenced Thursday December 8, 2016, by the First Instance Court of Second Class of Aplahoué, to four months’ imprisonment plus a fine of 100,000 CFA francs.

That’s the sentence against Gérard Gbénonchi, Kpétodé Mongbégnon, and Jean-Luc Eki, three ivory traffickers, at the trial held Thursday, December 8, 2016, at the Court of First Instance second class Aplahoué. They were caught by elements of the police and Aplahoué Azovè with the technical support of the program “Support to the implementation of laws on wildlife (Aalf-Benin)” with 2 kg of ivory they were about to sell. The judge handling the case based on Law No. 2002-16 of 18 October 2004 on the regime of wildlife in the Republic of Benin spoke of their having detained the elephant tusk, a strictly protected species, which earned them the condemnation. Indeed, Article 153 of the Act states: “shall be liable to a fine of 100,000 to

500,000 F and/or imprisonment from 3 months to 3 years who: holds wild animals without the required permit; circulated trophies or remains without certificate of origin; markets bushmeat outside the cases allowed . . .”

This umpteenth strong condemnation of traffickers comes after the court decisions of Cotonou and Natitingou, which respectively condemned traffickers to two months’ and three months’ imprisonment. By these decisions rendered, the law certainly punishes wildlife criminals. But it is desirable that sanctions to protect natural resources be more daunting for poachers and traffickers. To impose the maximum penalty against traffickers, for example, would be a feat Beninese justice could undertake in the fight against wildlife crime.