Geneva, 19 December 2002
International Repository for Ballistic Evidence
1. The Secretariat is aware that many Parties, particularly those that are range States of Appendix-I species at risk from poaching, have limited access to forensic science support. It is also conscious that firearms play a significant role in the poaching of Appendix-I species and that the use of ballistic examination techniques has great potential in identifying poachers, providing evidence for prosecutions, and for gathering intelligence that may assist in targeting poachers and poaching groups. Such examinations may also demonstrate common links between poaching incidents occurring in different countries, which is important given the cross-border nature of many poaching incidents.
2. The Secretariat believes that the availability of centralized recording of ballistic evidence could play an important role in combating poaching of endangered species and provide support to developing countries and those with economies in transition.
3. In the context of its Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Clark R. Bavin National Fish & Wildlife Forensics Laboratory, the Secretariat has reached an agreement under which the laboratory has offered to act as an international repository for ballistic evidence. In doing so, the Secretariat is seeking to achieve the technical assistance objectives (including innovative enforcement methods) of the CITES Strategic Vision and Action Plan and several resolutions (such as those relating to bears, elephants, musk deer, tiger and other Appendix-I Asian big cat species and Tibetan antelope) and its remit under Resolution Conf. 11.3 (Compliance and enforcement).
4. Parties that wish to avail themselves of this service are encouraged to send to the laboratory any bullets and cartridges that are recovered from the scenes of poaching incidents. The service is restricted to poaching related to CITES Appendix-I species. Items submitted to the laboratory will be examined for ballistic evidence and recorded for future reference. Parties will be advised when examinations reveal that bullets or cartridges from one scene match those apparently emanating from a weapon used at another scene. Weapons recovered by enforcement agencies may also be submitted for examination to determine whether they can be linked to bullets or cartridges recovered from poaching scenes.
5. Items being submitted for examination should:
a) be wrapped carefully to avoid damage during transport;
b) have a label attached giving a brief description of the item, e.g. bullet, spent cartridge case, semi-automatic rifle, etc., the date and place where the item was taken possession of by the authorities, and the signatures and names of two witnesses who seized the evidence; and
c) be accompanied by a brief written description of the nature of the incident.
6. The items should be sent by registered post or courier mail to the following address:
Clark R. Bavin National Fish & Wildlife Forensics Laboratory
1490 East Main Street
ASHLAND, OR 97520
United States of America
Tel: +1 (541) 482 41 91
Fax: +1 (541) 482 49 89
7. Parties that already conduct ballistic examination of evidence recovered from poaching scenes or weapons seized from poaching suspects are encouraged to submit details of the results to the Clark R. Bavin National Fish & Wildlife Forensics Laboratory, so that they can be compared against those held there and also be recorded for future reference.
8. The Secretariat wishes to emphasize that participation in this service is entirely voluntary but hopes that it will prove useful to the Parties and would welcome learning of any successes that are achieved or any difficulties that are encountered.
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