22 April 2017

Malawi: New Law to Help Combat Wildlife Crimes - Judge Twea

Justice Edward Twea has said the new law of National Parks and Wildlife will help combat wildlife crimes.

Speaking in an interview with the Malawi News Agency on the sidelines of a High Court Judges Symposium in Mangochi, he said the new law stipulates very stiff punishments which have just been amended in January this year.

"This workshop is significant in the sense that it will help magistrates and judges to appreciate the implications of the new law of National Parks and Wildlife and that it works in the best interest of parliament and the economy of this country," Twea said.

"When dealing with cases of wildlife crime we need to trace the chain, the tracing should start from the person who kills the animal. We also need to trace the people behind the crimes and how ivory and rhino horns for example leave the country and which countries they are sold," he added.

Twea said apart from using the new law of parks and wildlife the judiciary can also apply other laws like money laundering and forfeiture of assets in dealing with wildlife crime.

Director for Department of National Parks and Wildlife, Brighton Kumchedwa said the sector acknowledges the sentences being meted out by the judiciary on wildlife offences in recent times, noting that the department has now seen an increase in custodial sentences of up to 15 years and an increase in the fines.

"Despite these improvements, challenges still remain, we still have a number of people still involved in wildlife crime mainly trafficking of ivory and rhino horns. Poaching is still a problem in our parks and game reserves," Kumchedwa lamented.

He said the Act will provide reference guide for investigators, prosecutors and the judiciary when handling cases of wildlife crimes.

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