Prosecutors in Greater Mekong train to strengthen their fight against wildlife crime

Photo Credit: WWF Thailand

To strengthen their legal approach to wildlife crime in the notorious Golden Triangle Region, the Wildlife Justice Commission, in collaboration with WWF, is providing judicial training to improve the court strategy of local prosecutors, and, subsequently, the outcomes of their cases.

The training program is part of the ‘Fighting Wildlife Trafficking in the Golden Triangle’ project, with the goal of improving skills and raising awareness on the presence, role, and scale of wildlife crime in Thailand, Myanmar and Lao PDR.

The training commenced on 18 January in Chiang Rai, Thailand, and was attended by 22 prosecutors hailing from the northern Thai regions connected to the Golden Triangle. The Office of the Attorney General co-hosted this event with WWF and the Wildlife Justice Commission.

The training was held under strict COVID-19 measures and was the first of its kind in training regional prosecutors on wildlife crime, including topics addressing the scope and scale of transnational organised crime, the situational analysis of wildlife trade in Thailand, and an update on wildlife laws, case studies, and good practices for prosecuting wildlife crime cases. The workshop also included technical aspects that address techniques in conducting major investigations, financial intelligence, using evidential intelligence in analysis, and the use of forensic data.

Participants were able to provide practical contributions and collaborate on developing draft guidelines for prosecutors specifically to tackle wildlife crime that would be fine-tuned into a comprehensive toolkit that can be used among prosecutors nationwide.

As part of the event, participants engaged in a series of presentations on wildlife trafficking and in follow-up discussions on the surrounding judicial issues. Participants were then also asked to develop a reference guide to provide other prosecutors with best practices for handling future cases of wildlife crime.

With each training event, the Wildlife Justice Commission aims to equip local prosecutors and law enforcement officials with the best practices for disrupting and dismantling transnational criminal networks. Having commenced in September 2020, the project in collaboration with WWF is expected to continue until August this year. It is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).