Laos Participates in Regional Conference on Wildlife Crime

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Wildlife sold for meat at local markets in Laos

The Supreme Courts of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam held an online meeting called Justice for Wildlife: Regional Chief Justices Conference on Wildlife Crime last week.

The conference was co-organized by the People’s Supreme Court of Lao PDR and the Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. It was convened to strengthen the law enforcement, prosecution and conviction rates for wildlife crimes in the region, Khmer Times reports.

Wildlife crimes in the region and around the world never make it to court, and those that do have historically received lenient sentences that fail to reflect the gravity of the crime.

The online conference was attended by Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam

“This is the first time that we have organized an event of this caliber that supports cooperation on wildlife crime adjudication.”

“We are pleased to hear that our counterparts in Cambodia and Vietnam are also committed to strengthening our mutual cooperation on justice for wildlife, and hopefully we can continue using existing mechanisms to share our experiences and lessons learned in the judicial sector to combat wildlife trafficking and treat it as a serious crime,” said Vice President of the People’s Supreme Court, Mr. Khamphanh Bounkhakhom.

Mr. Seng Teak, Country Director of the Cambodian WWF, said that good cooperation between neighboring countries to address wildlife crime through an effective judicial system can eradicate the illegal wildlife trafficking network and wildlife syndicates.

He stated that transnational wildlife crime not only undermines conservation efforts but also endangers national security, economic prosperity, and public health.