Shanghala requests for assistance on transnational crime

WINDHOEK The Minister of Justice, Sakeus Shanghala has asked for the international community's assistance in exposing organisations and persons involved in orchestrating wildlife and forest crime and thereby disrupting transnational criminal networks.

The increase in poaching cases in Namibia is devastating and we invite the international community to expose the organisations and persons who are orchestrating the syndicates operating in our country, he said.

He made the plea yesterday at the 27th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) currently underway in Vienna, Austria. According to Shanghala, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which affirms explicitly that there can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development dictates that we all have to join forces to reduce conflict, violent crimes, discrimination and more importantly, we have to employ all our efforts to ensure inclusion and good governance in our respective jurisdictions. He further said that the only way to successfully implement sustainable development goals is to foster and nurture a culture of shared responsibility. In this regard he commended the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for creating the CCPCJ platform and other mandates and said such efforts is essential in the fight against terrorism and crime. The increasingly prevalent link between terrorist activities and transnational organised crime is a serious concern for Namibia, as the rise in terrorism and terrorist activities is becoming one of the major threats to peace and stability within the African region and the world at large, he said and continued: Namibia appealed to the UNODC and the State Parties to focus on tracking the perpetrators, especially the financiers of these acts and bringing them to justice.

Shanghala also reminded the participants that in the past few years, hundreds of immigrants, mostly from Africa perished in the Mediterranean Sea, because of the lucrative business of trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants. He stressed that the world need concerted efforts to put an end to this scourge, which might include establishing a working group specifically dealing with this.

According to Shanghala, the impact on the environment, which is brought about by the smuggling of oil, Rhino poaching and illegal fishing in the exclusive economic zones of African coastal States by various actors, including transnational corporations, is a big concern, which would require a global response. Namibia therefore encourages member States to highlight the urgent need for the use of existing mechanisms to improve international co-operation to disrupt transnational criminal networks involved in wildlife and forest crime; and investigate and prosecute money laundering and corruption associated with these types of crimes, the justice minister implored the participants.

He further said that as a small nation with very limited expertise, human and financial resources and vast numbers of wildlife, Namibia is particularly exposed to wildlife crime. He went on to say that the Namibian government is acutely aware of the fact that criminal groups use, to their advantage, gaps in legal and regulatory frameworks, weaknesses in capacity and the lack of resources of regulatory, enforcement and criminal justice officials, as well as difficulties in international cooperation. Shanghala however, informed the participants that Namibia has embarked upon a reform of its criminal justice sector in order to find more effective methods of dealing with these cases.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia