By Kennedy Senelwa, The East African
East African countries have set up a microsite to track wildlife trafficking and affiliated crimes in the region and will also collaborate in supporting the enforcement and prosecution of wildlife crimes.
The microsite set up by the East Africa Association of Prosecutors (EAAP) will promote co-operation on transnational wildlife crimes, data sharing, bilateral agreements, mutual legal assistance, harmonisation of laws, procedures and penalties.
The platform was developed with support from the United States Agency for International Development funded project Conserving Natural Capital and Enhancing Collaborative Management of Transboundary Resources in East Africa (Connect). It was created in response to the objectives established under the East Africa Community regional strategy to combat poaching, illegal trade and trafficking of wildlife and wildlife products.
EAAP president and director of Tanzania National Prosecution Services Biswalo Mganga, speaking at the recent virtual launch of the microsite, said prosecutors must ensure the coronavirus pandemic does not impede joint efforts to fight wildlife crimes.
The virtual launch was attended by Uganda’s Director of Public Prosecution Justice Jane Abodo, Kenya’s Secretary Public Prosecution Dorcas Oduor and Rwanda’s deputy Prosecutor-General Angelique Habyarimana.
Other representatives were Burundi’s deputy Prosecutor-General Isaac Kubwayo with head of EAAP Secretariat and acting Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions in Kenya Rhoda Ogoma.
“This website is a great milestone and a tangible output achieved in the process of the implementation of the EAC regional strategy,” said EAC’s Principal Tourism Officer Simon Kiarie.
“Facilitating regular communication between prosecutors will help to disrupt transnational smuggling networks while ensuring smooth and timely communication between nations when dealing with transnational wildlife smuggling networks,” said Julie Thomson, Traffic’s East Africa programme office director.