Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Judicial officials tackle wildlife crimes

Judicial officials tackle wildlife crimes

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Justice ministry undersecretary of state Khieu Sophany presides over the opening of the workshop on wildlife trafficking issues on May 31. MOJ

Judicial officials tackle wildlife crimes

The Ministry of Justice – in collaboration with Wildlife Conservation Society Cambodia (WCS) – held a second workshop for the Kingdom’s prosecutors and judges to discuss their experiences and give input on how to deal with wildlife trafficking.

The May 30-31 workshop – “Preparing guidelines for addressing wildlife trafficking” – was presided over by Ministry of Justice undersecretary of state Khieu Sophany and attended by 60 judges and prosecutors from across the country. The first workshop was held for two days on May 26-27 in 2021.

Sophany said the second consultation workshop aimed to gather additional insights, commentary and knowledge about the experiences of the 60 judges and prosecutors in attendance in order to contribute their input to the draft guidelines now being written to address the issue of wildlife trafficking in Cambodia in a more comprehensive manner.

“This guideline document will be helpful to all judges and prosecutors when dealing with wildlife trafficking cases and they will be the first such guidelines ever established in the history of Cambodia’s criminal justice system,” she said.

Sophany also urged and encouraged all judges and prosecutors to contribute their knowledge and experiences regarding the most successful means to deal with the problem of wildlife trafficking in the Kingdom. The guidelines will be compiled together and be something along the lines of a handbook to assist judges and prosecutors with decisions about what the most appropriate charges or sentences might be for such cases.

WCS country director Ken Serey Rotha said he and his organisation welcomed the initiative.

“This conference they held is a very useful means of soliciting input for the handbook of procedures for prosecuting wildlife trafficking cases.

“In order to obtain this input, the judges and prosecutors in the capital and provinces share their experiences with the various cases that have passed through the courts and that can then be used to form the basis for improving the contents of the handbook as they prepare it,” he said.

He added that the handbook was oriented towards prosecutions of trafficking cases and that hopefully through these guidelines awareness will be raised among judges and prosecutors about the need to prosecute wildlife traffickers.

“Speaking specifically, this handbook is designed to supplement the knowledge of the prosecutors and judges so that they understand about the importance of wildlife, the impact of wildlife loss and wildlife trafficking, and the legal aspects concerning wildlife trafficking within both a national and global framework,” he said.

He said the ministry has not yet set a date for the official launch of the handbook because stakeholders are still in the process of gathering more input and the workshop was one means to gather more of it efficiently and quickly.

Sophany said the contents of the handbook, when finalised, will focus on the management of investigations and the prosecution and sentencing of wildlife trafficking cases in order to eliminate or suppress the trade.

This will include advice on the role of prosecutors in leading the coordination of investigations, the clear planning and management of investigating risks to ensure prosecution as well as prosecutorial techniques that can be used at trial, such as getting testimony from wildlife experts.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,

  • Cambodia's poverty cut in half from 2009 to 2019: World Bank report

    A report published by the World Bank on November 28 states that Cambodia’s national poverty rate fell by almost half between 2009 and 2019, but the Covid-19 pandemic recently reversed some of the poverty reduction progress. Cambodia’s poverty rate dropped from 33.8 to 17.8 per cent over the 10