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EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking : recent Belgian criminal cases

Farah Bouquelle (UGent) and Luc Lavrysen (UGent)
Author
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Abstract
The article introduces international, European and Belgian legislation on trade in endangered species of wild animals and plants and discusses the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking. Notably, this contribution provides empirical insights in the functioning of the Belgian system for enforcement of wildlife trafficking regulations and provides a first set of empirical data on the effectiveness of criminal charges in this field of EU environmental law. To this extent, the four reviewed Belgian judgments are examples of effective criminal sanctioning of wildlife crime. They also show that wildlife crime is hot and organised, and that Belgium is both a final destination market for live birds and reptiles and a transit point for trafficking of ivory and sea horses to other continents, such as Asia. To meet the targets of the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking, the fight against wild life trafficking should be stepped up. As regards Belgium, this manuscript highlights that the federal state and the three regions should better coordinate their CITES policy and legislation. In view of the increase of CITES-cases, the training and capacity of the inspection, customs and police services should be strengthened further. More frequent controls at the airports and ports would increase the chance of being caught. The environmental unit of the federal police should be reinforced. Moreover, a federal CITES public prosecutor could be appointed for serious CITES cases in which there are links with terrorism and organised crime. More research capacity and international cooperation would allow to tackle not only the couriers, but the principals and addressees in the countries of origin and destination. Finally, the assignment of CITES cases to specialised sections of the courts would contribute to more efficiency and better continuity in the interpretation and enforcement of CITES regulations.
Keywords
Wildlife trafficking, CITES, EU Action Plan, Belgian case law, Standing of ENGOs, Bird laundering, Smuggling of sea horses, Ivory, Greek tortoises, Criminal sanctions

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Citation

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MLA
Bouquelle, Farah, and Luc Lavrysen. “EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking : Recent Belgian Criminal Cases.” JOURNAL FOR EUROPEAN ENVIRONMENTAL & PLANNING LAW, vol. 17, no. 2, 2020, pp. 161–88.
APA
Bouquelle, F., & Lavrysen, L. (2020). EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking : recent Belgian criminal cases. JOURNAL FOR EUROPEAN ENVIRONMENTAL & PLANNING LAW, 17(2), 161–188.
Chicago author-date
Bouquelle, Farah, and Luc Lavrysen. 2020. “EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking : Recent Belgian Criminal Cases.” JOURNAL FOR EUROPEAN ENVIRONMENTAL & PLANNING LAW 17 (2): 161–88.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Bouquelle, Farah, and Luc Lavrysen. 2020. “EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking : Recent Belgian Criminal Cases.” JOURNAL FOR EUROPEAN ENVIRONMENTAL & PLANNING LAW 17 (2): 161–188.
Vancouver
1.
Bouquelle F, Lavrysen L. EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking : recent Belgian criminal cases. JOURNAL FOR EUROPEAN ENVIRONMENTAL & PLANNING LAW. 2020;17(2):161–88.
IEEE
[1]
F. Bouquelle and L. Lavrysen, “EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking : recent Belgian criminal cases,” JOURNAL FOR EUROPEAN ENVIRONMENTAL & PLANNING LAW, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 161–188, 2020.
@article{8654881,
  abstract     = {The article introduces international, European and Belgian legislation on trade in endangered species of wild animals and plants and discusses the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking. Notably, this contribution provides empirical insights in the functioning of the Belgian system for enforcement of wildlife trafficking regulations and provides a first set of empirical data on the effectiveness of criminal charges in this field of EU environmental law. To this extent, the four reviewed Belgian judgments are examples of effective criminal sanctioning of wildlife crime. They also show that wildlife crime is hot and organised, and that Belgium is both a final destination market for live birds and reptiles and a transit point for trafficking of ivory and sea horses to other continents, such as Asia.

To meet the targets of the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking, the fight against wild life trafficking should be stepped up. As regards Belgium, this manuscript highlights that the federal state and the three regions should better coordinate their CITES policy and legislation. In view of the increase of CITES-cases, the training and capacity of the inspection, customs and police services should be strengthened further. More frequent controls at the airports and ports would increase the chance of being caught. The environmental unit of the federal police should be reinforced. Moreover, a federal CITES public prosecutor could be appointed for serious CITES cases in which there are links with terrorism and organised crime. More research capacity and international cooperation would allow to tackle not only the couriers, but the principals and addressees in the countries of origin and destination.

Finally, the assignment of CITES cases to specialised sections of the courts would contribute to more efficiency and better continuity in the interpretation and enforcement of CITES regulations.},
  author       = {Bouquelle, Farah and Lavrysen, Luc},
  issn         = {1613-7272},
  journal      = {JOURNAL FOR EUROPEAN ENVIRONMENTAL & PLANNING LAW},
  keywords     = {Wildlife trafficking,CITES,EU Action Plan,Belgian case law,Standing of ENGOs,Bird laundering,Smuggling of sea horses,Ivory,Greek tortoises,Criminal sanctions},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {161--188},
  title        = {EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking : recent Belgian criminal cases},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/18760104-01702004},
  volume       = {17},
  year         = {2020},
}

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