Legal Follow up

The EAGLE Uganda has a legal team in each country that assists in the administrative procedures of prosecuting the legal cases arising from these operations. They follow the process from the police report through the entire court procedure and on to the monitoring of prisoners serving sentences, intercepting and combating corruption attempts as required.

We ensure the prosecution of significant wildlife traffickers and that imprisonment sentences are handed down and served using anti-corruption techniques.

A large part of the work of EAGLE’s activists is in fighting corruption – we detect corruption in 80% of our cases in court. We are not just detecting corruption; our role is to fight these corruption attempts in real-time.

Supervising and assisting the writing of offence statements against subjects arrested – The EAGLE’s legal advisers will assist the authorities with writing the offence statement to avoid errors, deal with expected weaknesses of the case and strengthen the legal arguments. In each country the four legal advisors start their work on a case before the operation by preparing the legal system for receiving the case and evaluating threats of corruption and governance problems. At this stage they are also insuring the arresting force is acting legally in obtaining arrest or search warrants needed. Next is guiding the arresting officer for specific legal elements needed in the interrogation and the offence statement. The legal advisors are in the field at the time of operation and accompanying the arrest and interrogation. They are supervising the transmission of the case to court and communicate with the legal unit of the wildlife authorities and the administrative side of the court to insure understanding, identifying possible problems, including corruption.

Sensitizing the administrative side of the legal system through meetings and distribution of materials and soliciting high level of supervision to ensure good governance in court procedures – This is a long-term process that aims at creating a network of active collaborators at a high level within the court. Nurturing these relationships requires many personal meetings and establishment of regular communication with courts nationwide. Regular distribution of technical information materials already developed by EAGLE – including booklets detailing and explaining the national wildlife law, CDs containing the full text of national wildlife laws and legal articles produced – these are used to keep this communication active.

Assisting the legal representation of the cases through legal analysis and advice and support of lawyers’ fees – The EAGLE’s legal team produces a legal analysis of each case with legal argumentation and aggravating circumstances, a situation-response analysis of how to respond to possible arguments from the accused and a recommended demand of damages. These files are distributed to all collaborators involved in the legal procedures.

Following up all cases on a daily basis by four legal advisers in each country to ensure good governance in court procedure – Legal advisors are employed full time by the project to ensure that expertise is permanently available to follow through all prosecutions. The advisors will communicate directly with the courts and prosecution service, providing advice on all relevant legal matters as well as scrutiny to ensure that the defendant makes no corruption attempts.

Ensuring all imprisonment sentences are served through weekly jail visits – As part of EAGLE’s comprehensive legal follow-up activities, offenders who are convicted and sentenced to a jail term are visited regularly to ensure that custodial sentences are served in full and to monitor human rights issues whilst they are in custody.