Space for Giants proposes new measures to prosecute poachers in Southern Africa


Daisy Fletcher, The Independent

Date Published

Space For Giants has proposed new criminal justice measures to combat wildlife crime in countries across Southern Africa.

These strategies were canvassed at a conference in Lusaka, Zambia, this week by Space for Giants Director of Legal Strategy, Shamini Jayanathan, along with a group of judges and attorneys from the US, with support from the ICCF Foundation and Stop Ivory.

Wildlife law enforcement teams from Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe were also involved in the discussions, which shed light on a variety of solutions that will improve wildlife prosecution in their countries.

“This was an opportunity to bring together law enforcement from different jurisdictions and, in one workshop, ‘pitch’ various criminal justice solutions for their consideration,” said Ms Jayanathan. “This opportunity has provided us with a clear road map for in-country delivery of criminal justice solutions.”

Managing delays in court, changing standards for prosecution services and improving sentencing guidelines were some of the measures discussed at the regional conference.

These measures will be implemented in Giants Club countries, and other African countries that are members of the Elephant Protection Initiative.

It will ensure that in future those who poach elephants, and other illegal wildlife for profit, are more effectively dealt with by the country’s legal system.

The joint Space for Giants/ICCF/Stop Ivory-led initiative was welcomed by local officials.

Mary Kachale, the Director of Public Prosecutions and Ministry of Justice in Malawi, said: “This was a wonderful opportunity to meet with our fellow prosecutors and judicial officers from the region, exchange ideas and enhance opportunities for mutual legal assistance.”

The conference was organised as the first step towards fulfilling the the ICCF and Stop Ivory’s pledge at the Giants Club Summit in April, where they promised to financially support the legal work Space For Giants does to tackle wildlife crime.

Susan Lylis, Vice President of the ICCF, said: “The ICCF is eager to continue collaborative efforts with local governments and partner organisations to implement efficient and effective interventions in the fight against wildlife and environmental crime.”

The Giants Club was founded by the Presidents of Kenya, Gabon, Uganda and Botswana, and Evening Standard proprietor Evgeny Lebedev, the patron of Space for Giants and the Giants Club.

It was established to unite African governments, businesses and conservationists to find a solution to the poaching crisis and assist in the implementation of the Elephant Protection Initiative.