Notification to the Parties
No. 1999/13 Geneva, 29 January 1999
Review of alleged infractions
1. For each meeting of the Conference of the Parties, the Secretariat prepares a review of alleged infractions of the Convention. These reviews are intended to provide the Parties with an overview of illicit trade and to identify significant problems relating to the issuance and acceptance of CITES documents. The reviews make use of information from a variety of sources, especially details received pursuant to Resolution Conf. 9.8 (Rev.), which recommends that Parties inform the Secretariat about convicted illegal traders and persistent offenders.
2. In December 1997, the Interpol Wildlife Crime Sub Group decided that an analysis of the most recent 'Review of Alleged Infractions and other Problems of Implementation of the Convention' (in document Doc. 10.28) should be conducted. The Environmental Crime Unit of the National Criminal Intelligence Division of the National Police Agency in the Netherlands offered to undertake this work. A copy of their final report, which is available in English only, is attached.
3. The report notes that a substantial number of the cases detailed in the Review of Alleged Infractions are not relevant to an analysis of illegal trade or wildlife crime, as they concern technical problems of permits and certificates. It does, however, acknowledge that information supplied to the Secretariat on incidents of illicit trade are of considerable importance and offer an opportunity to law enforcement agencies to develop targeting and risk-assessment profiles.
4. The report makes a number of observations and recommendations that are of considerable significance to the Parties and the Secretariat. These are summarized below.
a) The Review of Alleged Infractions (or a similar document) should continue to be prepared by the Secretariat. It should be structured in a manner that lends itself to use in recognized crime-analysis systems. Analysis of information received by the Secretariat should be conducted more frequently. Reports prepared simply for meetings of the Conference of the Parties do not allow timely and meaningful analysis of information received.
b) Parties should provide more information to the Secretariat on a regular basis and should do so in a detailed and structured manner. The current supply of information is not sufficiently detailed to allow proper analysis and subsequent targeting of advice to Parties.
c) The Secretariat should develop a computer programme to facilitate the recording, in a meaningful manner, of information received.
d) The Secretariat should implement arrangements to exchange information with the World Customs Organization and ICPO-Interpol.
5. The Secretariat commends the recommendations of this report to all Parties and makes the following observations.
a) The Secretariat has repeatedly sought the co-operation of Parties in supplying information relating to illicit trade. In Notification to the Parties No. 966, it identified the preferred format for the submission of information. The ECOMESSAGE format includes fields for data that are essential for effective assessment and analysis of supplied information.
b) The Secretariat is completing arrangements for the implementation of its computerized intelligence and information system, TIGERS (Trade Infraction and Global Enforcement Recording System), which offers the potential to comply fully with the suggestions of the Netherlands report.
c) The Secretariat already has in place arrangements for the exchange of information with ICPO-Interpol and the World Customs Organization.
d) The Secretariat also notes that certain Resolutions and Decisions, together with actions that the Secretariat has taken internally, already address all of the recommendations in the report prepared by the Netherlands National Police Agency. It appears that what is needed is greater compliance with those Resolutions and Decisions.
6. The Secretariat urges all Parties to take into account the observations contained in the report of the Netherlands National Police Agency, which is an important, independent and professional assessment by a law-enforcement body of the approach taken to this subject.
8. The Secretariat again urges all Parties to provide it with information on significant cases of illegal trade, convicted illegal traders and persistent offenders.
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