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Beyond crimes against the environment and wildlife: Organized Crime, corruption and money laundering. San Jose, Costa Rica, February 16 - 17, 2016

UNODC supported the workshop for judges and prosecutors sponsored by the Training Department of the Public Prosecutors office in collaboration with the Environmental Prosecutor's Office with the aim of sensitizing justice system operators regarding best practices in the application of regulations on the protection of wildlife.
The crimes established in the Criminal Code were presented in detailed as well as tools developed for judges and prosecutors among which is worth noting a Manual on prosecution and investigation of environmental offences.
Likewise, UNODC gave a presentation on the international legal framework on environmental matters with the CITES representative for Costa Rica explaining the legal dispositions provided IN CITES.
Following this presentation UNODC, drew the links between the crimes against wildlife and organized crime and how this illicit trade result on corruption and other related offences. In cases in which an investigation on crimes against wildlife is associated with a criminal group, the offence is punishable with a minimum of 4 years in prison, and the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime can be utilized. This convention contains dispositions regarding extradition, mutual legal assistance, joint investigations which enables cooperation in numerous jurisdictions given its almost universal ratification. The same was emphasized about United Nations Convention against corruption. Participants were encouraged to identify in the framework of their investigations possible corrupt behaviors related to the illicit trade of wildlife in specific cases.
The event concluded with a debate regarding means used to confiscate proceeds of crime and the instruments used for the commission of crimes against wildlife and the environment.  In this respect, emphasis was given to the convenience of approving regulations regarding non-conviction based forfeiture.
Mrs. Virginia de Abajo Marqués, Anti-Corruption Regional Advisor for UNODC. Mr. Jose Joaquin Calvo for CITES of Costa Rica, Judge Jeffry Mora and prosecutors Sergio Valdelomar and Jose Pablo Gonzalez as Costa Rica's focal point for the network of law enforcers of Central America and Dominican Republic participated as experts in this event which was possible thanks to the support of the International Technical Assistance Program of the U.S. Department of the Interior in the framework of the in the framework of the Environmental Cooperation Agreement of CAFTA-DR.