剛果法院首例 12年殺害500多頭大象 盜獵者將蹲30年苦牢 | 環境資訊中心

剛果法院首例 12年殺害500多頭大象 盜獵者將蹲30年苦牢

2020年08月31日
環境資訊中心外電;姜唯 翻譯;林大利 審校;稿源:ENS

剛果共和國刑事法院以殺害國家公園巡守員未遂、販賣盜獵來的象牙、持有武器等多項罪名,判處知名盜獵者和象牙走私者吉拉德(Mobanza Mobembo Gérard)30年徒刑,且必須支付3800萬中非法郎(約台幣199萬元)給受傷的巡守員。

這是剛果共和國的野生動植走私者首次在刑事法院被定罪。

吉拉德因殺害國家公園巡守員未遂、販賣盜獵來的象牙、持有武器等多項罪名,遭判處30年徒刑。照片來源:WCS新聞稿

吉拉德帶領集團 在國家公園殺死500多頭大象

根據調查,人稱蓋瓦尼歐(Guyvanho)的吉拉德帶領一個約25人的盜獵集團。自2008年至今,他們在諾娃貝爾多基國家公園(Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park)一帶殺死了500多頭大象。

該公園成立於1993年,位於剛果北部省份,周圍是非洲森林象和稀有大型猿類的棲地,包括西部低地大猩猩和東部黑猩猩。

剛果民主共和國籍的蓋瓦尼歐於2008年前後來到剛果共和國北部。2018年初,他和其他幾名集團成員殺死了11頭大象,被諾娃貝爾多基國家公園巡守員逮個正著,雙方發生駁火。起初蓋瓦尼奧趁亂逃脫,但同夥三名成員被捕。他們的供詞成為對蓋瓦尼歐發出逮捕令的根據。

除了被殺害的大象數量眾多外,這次事件還顯示該犯罪集團以暴力對抗公權力的傾向,而且公園內外四周的大象盜獵集團行徑越來越囂張。

2018年5月蓋瓦尼歐被捕,被押在歐耶索省城監獄中等待審判。然而,在2018年6月2日,審判開始前12天,蓋瓦尼歐竟然逃獄了。儘管如此,他的審判仍持續進行,並因缺席被判處5年徒刑加500萬中非法郎(約台幣26萬元)的罰款。

除了被殺害的大象數量眾多外,這次事件還顯示該犯罪集團以暴力對抗公權力的傾向。照片來源:WCS臉書

蓋瓦尼奧於2019年7月20日再度落網

法院再次發出逮捕令。蓋瓦尼歐仍然是公園野生動物犯罪部門的通緝要犯,所有曾出沒過的地點都受到監視。這段期間,他曾被目擊繼續參加盜獵活動,每次都與國家公園的巡守員發生槍戰。

2019年5月31日,一名巡守員返回諾娃貝爾多基國家公園總部途中剛好碰上一群剛收工的盜獵者,蓋瓦尼奧赫然在其中。盜獵者對巡守員開槍,導致兩名巡守員受傷,其中一名重傷,幸好被受過急救訓練的同僚救回。

蓋瓦尼奧這次又逃走了,但似乎向人吹噓事發經過而走漏了風聲,當局因此再次掌握他新的藏身之處。透過監視行動,蓋瓦尼奧終於在2019年7月20日落網。

蓋瓦尼奧被送回歐耶索省服刑,並再次嘗試越獄,這次沒有成功。很顯然,蓋瓦尼奧在歐耶索省有強大的後援,極有可能再次越獄。國家公園管理部門於2019年8月成功獲得批准,得以將蓋瓦尼奧和三名同夥轉移到布拉柴維爾監獄。

學者:此次判決是剛果在野生動植物保護上的重要里程碑

諾娃貝爾多基國家公園由總部位於紐約的野生動物保護協會(Wildlife Conservation Society, WCS)和剛果共和國政府透過諾娃貝爾多基基金會合作管理,已經長達25年。

WCS中非地區主任斯托克斯(Emma Stokes)博士說,這名盜獵犯能被繩之以法,靠的是諾娃貝爾多基國家公園野生動物犯罪部門和反盜獵部門三年來的努力,以及和森林經濟部、警方和地方檢察官等的多個有關當局合作的成果。

「此次判決是剛果共和國刑事法庭在野生動植物保護上一個重要的里程碑。以前所有環境犯罪都是在民事法庭審理的,最高刑期僅五年。今日的判決顯示,野生動植物犯罪不會再被容忍,將從重量刑。」斯托克斯說。

Congo Imprisons Elephant Poacher for 30 Years
BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of Congo, August 22, 2020 (ENS)

 A criminal court in the Republic of Congo has sentenced a notorious poacher and ivory trafficker, Mobanza Mobembo Gérard, alias Guyvanho, to 30 years in prison for the attempted murder of park rangers, trafficking of ivory from poached elephants, possession of military weapons, and other charges. He is also required to pay damages of 38 million Central African Francs (US$68,000) to the injured rangers.

The 30-year sentence marks the first-ever conviction in the criminal courts of a wildlife trafficker in the Republic of Congo.

Investigations revealed that Guyvanho led a group of approximately 25 poachers who, based on the number of hunts reported, could have killed upwards of 500 elephants in the area of Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park since 2008.

Established in 1993, in the northern provinces of Congo, the park is inhabited by forest elephants and rare great apes, including western lowland gorillas and the eastern subspecies of chimpanzees.

In early 2018, Guyvanho – a citizen of the Democratic Republic of Congo who had arrived in the northern Republic of Congo around 2008 – and several other members of his team were caught in an operation led by Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park rangers, after they allegedly killed 11 elephants. A firefight ensued and Guyvanho was initially able to escape, but three members of his team were arrested. Their statements provided sufficient grounds for an arrest warrant to be issued against him.

In addition to the number of elephants killed, this incident demonstrated the willingness of this group to respond with violence when challenged. This was indicative of a trend of increasing violence of elephant poaching gangs in and around the park.

In May 2018, Guyvanho was arrested and remanded in prison in the provincial town of Ouesso to await trial. However, on June 2, 2018, 12 days before his trial was to take place, Guyvanho escaped from the Ouesso prison. Still, his trial went ahead, and he was sentenced in absentia to five years in prison with a five million Central African Franc (US$9,000) fine.

A further arrest warrant was issued. He remained a priority target of the park’s Wildlife Crime Unit – and locations known to be used by Guyvanho were monitored, but no arrest was made.

During this time, he was cited as a participant in a number of subsequent hunts, each of which featured exchanges of gunfire with park rangers.

On May 31, 2019, a ranger patrol returning to Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park HQ happened across a group of poachers – including Guyvanho – returning from a hunt. The patrol was fired upon by the poachers, and two patrol members were wounded, one of them seriously. His life was saved by fellow rangers with medical training.

Guyvanho was again able to escape but was reported to have bragged about the incident. This information was passed to the authorities along with a new location for Guyvanho’s home. A surveillance operation was launched to confirm the information from the Wildlife Crime Unit, and, based on this information, Guyvanho was arrested by the Ouesso Police on July 20, 2019.

Guyvanho was returned to prison in Ouesso to serve his sentence but following a further escape attempt, this time unsuccessful, it became clear that Guyvanho had a sufficiently strong support network in Ouesso that another escape attempt was highly likely. A transfer to Brazzaville prison was requested by the park authorities and approved, and in August 2019 Guyvanho and three associates were successfully moved.

All the convicts will be transferred back to Brazzaville this week to serve their sentences.

The Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park is governed by a 25-year public-private partnership between the New York City-based Wildlife Conservation Society, WCS, and the Government of the Republic of Congo through the Nouabalé-Ndoki Foundation.

Dr. Emma Stokes, WCS regional director for Central Africa, says many people cooperated to bring this poacher to justice. “The sentencing is the culmination of more than three years of work by the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park’s Wildlife Crime Unit and Anti-Poaching department. It is also the result of fruitful cooperation with multiple Congolese authorities, including the Ministry of Forest Economy, the Police, and District Prosecutors.

Dr. Stokes listed some of those supporting WCS involvement in this case. “WCS commends our government partners in the Republic of Congo and thanks our donors for their ongoing support in this case, including The Wildcat Foundation, Save the Elephants’ and Wildlife Conservation Network’s Elephant Crisis Fund, the Sangha Trinational Trust Fund, U.S. State Department’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, the European Union, and the United States Agency for International Development’s Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment (USAID-CARPE).”

“This unprecedented conviction in the criminal court is a major milestone in the protection of wildlife in the Republic of Congo. Previously, all environmental crimes were tried in the civil courts where the maximum penalty under the wildlife law was five years. Today’s sentencing sends an extremely strong message that wildlife crime will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted at the highest levels,” Stokes said.

“We are confident that today’s sentence will serve as a deterrent to would-be criminals that you will serve hard time if you break our wildlife laws and put park rangers and Congo’s national security in danger,” she said.

After the sentencing, an official from the Sangha District Court declared, “This verdict confirms the fact that under the pretext of being poaching gangs, it is actually well-organized criminal gangs operating in our forests.”

※ 全文及圖片詳見:ENS

作者

姜唯

如果有一件事是重要的,如果能為孩子實現一個願望,那就是人類與大自然和諧共存。

林大利

於特有生物研究保育中心服務,小鳥和棲地是主要的研究對象。是龜毛的讀者,認為龜毛是探索世界的美德。