That penalty, although still small, is encouraging and demonstrates a real awareness of the seriousness of the Dakar court. Last July a very low suspended sentence had been made for an international trafficker of ivory and elephant hair caught in Ziguinchor, in possession of a record entry for Senegal of 1069 items of elephant contraband, essentially ivory. This was a very mild court decision in view of the seriousness of the facts of the quantity seized, and it was criticized by experts worldwide in the illegal trade of species and on social networks.
It should be the duty of Senegal, in accordance with its international commitments to Washington Convention of 1977 on international trade in species of wild fauna and flora threatened with extinction, that traffickers of wildlife products are punished with rigor. Effective enforcement by heavy sentences of “firm imprisonment” is the only deterrent. Impunity and lack of firmness in this area do not honor Senegal and encourage offenders by strengthening their criminal activity, reassuring the low risks they incur.
The illegal trade in species is an organized crime transnational, which occupies the fourth place of the illicit trade in the world, after drugs, weapons, and human beings. It raises profit of about $20 billion each year. This is a serious threat that must be addressed seriously by African states.
This traffic generates huge illegal profits for complex criminal organizations that are often responsible for the slaughter of elephants. This traffic undermines the rule of law and helps fund organized crime and armed groups in some areas. It is time that these criminals that mark the four corners of our country, are tried as such, and that sanctions applied by our justice are exemplary and dissuasive.