Nepal: Prosecuting wildlife crimes in South Asia

05 July 2019, Kathmandu (Nepal) - A regional workshop on the prosecution of serious forms of wildlife crime was organized in Kathmandu (Nepal) to discuss cooperation on investigation, prosecution, and sentencing of wildlife crimes in South Asia. 

 The meeting was held on 3-5 July 2019 and was organized by the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) and UNODC with funding support from the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Section (INL), and the World Bank Global Wildlife Program.  This is the second workshop following the first workshop which was held in December 2018 in Bhutan.

It brought together 23 prosecutors, judges, and wildlife officials, from 7 South Asian countries with the aim of building a stronger national and regional prosecution, encouraging international cooperation through legal provisions, and strengthening prosecutors' core competencies to deal with cross border related crimes.  Led by legal experts from UNODC and the Department of Justice of the United States, international good practices on wildlife crime such as harmonization of legal frameworks, evidence used in investigations, sentencing charges, and international assistance mechanisms were discussed.  


(Discussions within the working groups)

 "Prosecutors, judges, and investigating agencies have not only played a crucial role in combatting wildlife crime at the national level but they have also facilitated and coordinated legal assistance among countries." Honourable Agni Prasad Kharel, Attorney General of Nepal stated.  "As the Chief advisor and Chief prosecuting authority of the state of Nepal, the Office of the Attorney General continues to remain an establishing collaboration and exchange with counterparts and other actors in the region and across,"


(Hon. Agni Prasad Kharel, Attorney General of Nepal and Jorge E. Rios, Chief of the Global Programme on Combating Wildlife and Forest Crimes)

 During the three-day workshop, participants exchanged key legislations and prosecuting processes from their country's perspectives.  Working in groups with different countries, they explored and identified evidence for conviction as well as presented these factors for sentencing in a mock trial.  These discussions allowed delegates to better understand the context in each country and cooperate in collecting and sharing information.

The delegates demonstrated their commitment to continue working together to improve their national legislations and investigative prosecution.  They have agreed to share the knowledge gained to the respective agencies at the national level, increase prosecuting skills, as well as strengthen relations with other countries. 


(Participants during the exercises)

  Did you know:

  • Maximum penalty for committing wildlife crimes in Nepal is 15 years imprisonment.  Most South Asian countries have an average sentencing ranging from 5-12 years. According to the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime, serious crimes are punished with a maximum penalty of at least 4 years imprisonment.

  Quotes from participants:

 "This workshop has made us start thinking about the direction we're going [to develop] to be more proactive." Ms. Swati, Bajaj, Madhya Pradesh State Judicial Academy, India

  • "It was an extremely informative, enjoyable workshop. I was really impressed to see how passionate facilitators were about the subject and it reflected in the quality of their presentations." Ms. Mariyam Thoifa, Prosecutor General's Office, Maldives 
  • "It is very useful to learn about evidence used in wildlife crimes. Although most of my work has not dealt with wildlife, it is better to be prepared." Mr. Chimi Dorji Shartsho, Judiciary of Bhutan   

 Click here to learn more about UNODC's work on wildlife and forest crime.