State prosecutors from 11 East African countries have vowed to tighten their cross border cooperation and tackle money laundering crimes so as to combat wildlife crimes and other emerging transnational crimes.
The commitments were made during the closing of the East Africa Association of Prosecutors’ (EAAP) technical committee meeting concluded last week in Nairobi.
Signed by all EAAP members, the partnership is expected to strip wildlife traffickers of their ill-gotten gains, disrupt networks, and send the message that wildlife crimes won’t prevail.
Gitonga Murang’a, the EAAP Secretariat Coordinator said this new agreement will see all prosecutors agreeing with one voice on strategies to strictly tackle wildlife crimes.
“We will intensify training on asset recovery, cybercrime, and wildlife crime in each member country to ensure that all the prosecutors involved are speaking with one voice and sending the same message to poachers and other perpetrators of these crimes in the region that wildlife crime won’t pay,” he commented.
EAAP Members which include Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia, were reminded of the network the association has provided them with, to share experiences and further strengthen ways to strip international wildlife traffickers of their ill-gotten gains.
On his part, Jamal Juma Kafumbe, the Prosecutors’ Forum Coordinator, tackled the aspect of the Asian market.
“This illicit trade continues because of the demand for wildlife assets such as ivory in markets, specifically in Asia. We must start shifting our efforts to putting pressure on the markets that generate this demand,” he observed.
Sharing his sentiments on this, Javier Montano, the Regional Coordinator at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) hailed the partnership of East African countries to come together and tackle wildlife crimes.
He described the multipartite commitment as an encouragement to all countries that are closely watching the milestones and achievements we are making.