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I. General Legal Framework Concerning Wildlife Protection in the CAR

A.  Background

The CAR’s legislation concerning wildlife protection is particularly diverse and fragmented, as it consists of varied legal instruments that either overlap or regulate the same matter.  In consequence, it is almost impossible to determine with absolute certainty which legal instrument would apply in a specific situation.

The main legislation aimed at protecting wildlife and curbing poaching and illegal trafficking in the CAR is as follows: the Forestry Code of 2008;[1] the Code of the Environment of 2007;[2] Ordinance 85.005 of 1985, Concerning the Elimination of Elephant Hunting;[3] Ordinance 84.062 of 1984, Establishing the Conditions for the Capture and Exportation of Live Wild Animals;[4] Ordinance 84.045 of 1984, Concerning the Protection of Wildlife and the Regulation of Hunting in the Central African Republic;[5] Decree 84.341 of 1984, Establishing the Conditions for Obtaining and the Rates for Issuing Permits to Capture Live Wild Animals;[6] Ordinance 81-013 of 1981, Implementing Ordinance nº 80-30, Concerning the Prohibition of the Commercialization of Hunting Products (Ivory);[7] Decree 0633 of 1972, Concerning the Creation of a Professional Identity Card for Hunting Guides Working in the Central African Republic;[8] Law 422/63 of 1963, Amending Law nº 62-343 of 1962, Establishing a Supreme Council for Hunting;[9] Law 62/350 of 1963, Concerning the Organization for the Protection of Plants in the Central African Republic;[10] Decree 62-239 of 1962, Against Poaching During Periods of Livestock Migration;[11] Law 61/276 of 1961, Concerning the Regulation of the Introduction of Hunting Weapons and Munitions by Nonresident Hunters;[12] Law 61/281 of 1961, Regulating the Practice of Hunting and Commercial Hunting Products;[13] and Law 60-126 of 1960, Against the Poaching of Migrant Livestock.[14]

A major government agency with the responsibility for regulating hunting, protecting nature, organizing management and exploitation services for wildlife, creating protected areas, and regulating wildlife tourism is the Supreme Council for Hunting,[15] which is administered by the Ministry of Hunting[16] and the Directorate of Waters, Forests and Hunting.[17]

B.  Restricted Areas and Periods

Hunting is forbidden in integral natural reserves,[18] national parks, wildlife and hunting reserves, urban areas, and in other areas.[19]  Private persons may be authorized to access hunting areas for the purposes of hunting, tourism, or observation under terms established in a contract signed with the ministry in charge of wildlife.[20]  This ministry may establish open and closed hunting seasons throughout the year and throughout the national territory.[21]

C.  Classification of Wildlife for Regulatory Purposes

Wildlife is classified as (a) fully protected, (b) partially protected, and (c) ordinary game.[22]

Fully protected animals are those included in List A of Annex 2 to Ordinance 84.045 of 1984, and are subject to the following restrictions: (a) their capture, as well as the collection or destruction of their eggs, larvae, nests, or lodgings is absolutely forbidden;[23] and (b) their exportation by private individuals is strictly forbidden, with the exception of holders of commercial capture permits.[24]

Partially protected animals are those included in List B of Annex 2 to Ordinance 84.045 of 1984, and their hunting is permitted in accordance with the applicable legislation.[25]

The possession or transportation of fully or partially protected animals listed in Articles 18 and 19 of Law 60/140 on the Protection of Nature list fully or partially protected animals the possession or transportation of which is absolutely forbidden without prior authorization, with the exception of commercial capture permits mentioned in article 2 of Law 61/281 of 1961.[26]  This list includes leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, gorillas, chimpanzees, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, giraffes, and crocodiles, for example, as fully protected animals; and lions, elephants, warthogs, mongooses, and pythons, among others, as partially protected animals. The complete list of fully protected animals can be found in documents referred to in footnotes 23 and 41 of this report, and partially protected animals are listed in documents referred to in footnotes 23 and 41.

Only free animals constitute ordinary game or partially protected animals for purposes of Ordinance 84.045 of 1984.[27]

Any party (be it an individual, a company, a not-for-profit organization, or a research institution) seeking to export partially protected or unprotected animals must (a) provide a formal written declaration stating that exportation is not being undertaken for profit and that the animal will be donated to a zoo if the party is required to relinquish it; (b) obtain an exportation authorization issued by the Directorate of Waters, Forests and Hunting; (c) obtain a Sanitary Certificate issued by the Directorate of Breeding; and (d) pay a “special tax for the exportation of live animals.”[28]

The eggs of birds and reptiles are considered as live animals.[29]

D.  Hunting Permits and Licenses

Hunting is allowed only pursuant to customary hunting rights or to a valid hunting permit.[30]  Different types of hunting permits are issued depending on the beneficiary of the permit and type of animal involved.[31]  Some of the restrictions imposed by hunting permits are: (a) only adult males of each species may be hunted;[32] (b) regardless of the type of hunting permit issued, no more than two mammals of the same species and no more than four distinct species of mammals may be killed on the same day;[33] and (c) no more than ten mammals may be killed within the same week.[34]  The Ministry of the Interior may grant Central African citizens supplementary permits to hunt under more favorable conditions.[35]  Holders of hunting permits enjoy free ownership over the skins of their authorized hunt.[36]

The capture of the wild animals included in Annex 2, Lists B and C, of Ordinance 84.045 of 1984[37] concerning the Protection of Wildlife and Regulating Hunting[38] may be undertaken only by the governmental agency in charge of wildlife, or by an organ under its control; in all other cases a capture permit is required.[39]  The Council of Ministers may, by decree, forbid permanently or temporarily, the capture of these animals in specific areas.[40]  The capture of fully protected animals for noncommercial purposes[41] may exceptionally be undertaken with the express authorization of the Chief of State with the advice of the High Commissioner for Wildlife.[42]

Ordinance 84.062 of 1984 regulates the capture and exportation of live wild animals for scientific or commercial purposes.[43]  The High Commissioner in charge of wildlife approves permits for the commercial capture of live wild animals to national or foreign individuals or organizations.[44]

The Ministries of Agriculture; Breeding; Waters and Forests; and Tourism issue commercial capture permits by joint decree; permit holders must pay a patent fee, and a “special tax for the exportation of live animals”; the permit authorizes the capture of unprotected animals without any limitations.[45]

The exportation of live wild animals from the national territory requires a certificate of origin and an exportation permit issued by the Hunting Directorate, as well as a sanitary certificate issued by the Breeding Service, and the payment of a special exportation tax.[46]  The exportation of spoils and trophies must be made pursuant to a Certificate of Origin issued by the Directorate of Waters, Forests and Hunting, and a Sanitary Certificate issued by the Directorate of Breeding.[47]

The Ministry of Waters and Forests may issue professional identity cards for hunting guides.[48]  Identity cards are nontransferable.[49]

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II. Crimes Related to Poaching and Trafficking in Wildlife

A.  General Criminal Activities

Absent a duly issued hunting permit as established in Section 1 D above, the following activities are forbidden: (a) all hunting acts[50] that involve the killing, injuring, capturing, disturbing, or scaring of wild animals or their environment;[51] (b) the introduction, possession and use of hunting spears, with the exception of defense spears;[52] (c) hunting by means of certain instruments and procedures;[53] and (d) possession or transfer of spoils or trophies of fully protected animals included in List A of Annex 2.[54]

Spoils or trophies of partially protected animals included in List B of Annex 2 may not be held, transferred, or exported without a certificate of origin and an export permit,[55] while that of ordinary game included in List C of Annex 2 is permitted.[56]

With regard to herders, the following activities are forbidden to those authorized to stay temporarily within the autonomous territory of Birao and within zones of hunting interest, be they owners, breeders, drivers, conveyors of herds, or those accompanying them:[57] (a) the introduction, possession, or use of more than one lance per herder; (b) the introduction, transportation, and use of hunting netting; (c) the introduction, possession, or use of all bows and arrows; and (d) the introduction and use of horses, with the exception of prestige horses at a maximum of one horse per herd.

B.  Criminal Offenses Concerning Elephants and Ivory

Elephant hunting is forbidden throughout the entire territory of the Central African Republic.[58]  The collection and commercialization of ivory within national parks and wildlife reserves is absolutely forbidden.[59]  However, hunters who legally kill an elephant have the rights to its tusks,[60] and may freely collect, sell, or export them from the national territory[61] in accordance with Ordinance 81-013 of 1981.[62]  For all these transactions, a Certificate of Origin is required,[63] and certificates must be issued” by duly authorized organizations.[64]

The transformation of ivory may be performed only in accordance with the requirements established in a decree issued jointly by the Ministry of Hunting and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.[65]  Collectors and ivory sales officers may operate only after paying a patent and a tax.[66]  The exportation of ivory is subject to taxes,[67] and may take place only under the control of the Customs Service through legally authorized organizations using international airlines departing from the national airport.[68]

Ivory or spoils proceeding from confiscations resulting from violations of legislation related to hunting are sent to the Conservator of Land Property,[69] for public sale to the benefit of the state.[70]

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III. Penalties

The cutting, mutilation, pruning, or tearing off of either species within an integral natural reserve or protected species without a special authorization is punishable by imprisonment from one to five years and/or a fine from 200,000 to 1 million francs (about US$400 to $2,000).[71]

Anyone hunting without a valid permit, hunting outside the restrictions established in permit, or failing to submit the slaughter report required by legislation[72] is subject to imprisonment from one to six months and/or a fine from 100 to 300 francs (about US$.20 to $.60), without prejudice to the taxes due according to the applicable legislation.[73]

Ordinance 84.045 of 1984[74] describes punishable activities and establishes different jail terms and pecuniary penalties for specific acts.  Violations of Ordinance 84.062 of 1984 are punishable in accordance with articles 105 to 120 of Ordinance 84.045 of 1984.[75]  Violations of Law 62/350 of 1963 are punishable with fines and/or imprisonment, without prejudice to the seizure of the instruments and effects involved in the offense.[76]  Arts. 5 to 8 list about seven specific acts that are punished, including false declarations, failure to observe sanitary measures, and fraudulent use of permits.

Any violation of Ordinance 81-013 of 1981 concerning ivory is punishable with a fine of 1 to 5 million francs (about US$2,000 to $10,000) and/or imprisonment from two to five years, without prejudice to the confiscation of the instruments and effects of the offense.[77]

Instruments and materials utilized to commit the offenses as well as their products are confiscated for the benefit of the State.[78]

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IV.  Enforcement Authorities

In the Central African Republic, the enforcement of hunting rules and environmental protection legislation is delegated to specific government agencies in accordance with their responsibilities, as follows:

  • Enforcement of Ordinance 84.062 of 1984 lies with the Ministry of National Defense, the Ministry of Rural Development, the Ministry of the Interior, and the High Commissioner for Tourism, Waters, Forests, Hunting, and Fishing.[79]

  • Enforcement of Ordinance 84.045 of 1984[80] lies with (a) officers and agents of the judicial police; (b) sworn officers of the Administration of Waters, Forests, Hunting, and Fishing; (c) sworn hunting guides; and (d) park and reserve rangers.

  • Enforcement of Decree 84.341 of 1984 lies with the Ministry of Economy and Finances, and the High Commissioner for Tourism, Waters, Forests, Hunting, and Fishing.[81]

  • Enforcement of Ordinance 81-013 of 1981 concerning ivory lies with the Ministry of Hunting, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of National Defense, and the Ministry of Justice.[82]

  • Enforcement of Law 62/350 of 1963 lies with the Ministry of Agriculture[83] and the Plant Protection Service.[84]

All of these enforcement officers have the power to seize and confiscate weapons, machines, or vehicles utilized during the commission of these offenses, and the meats, spoils, and trophies of animals illegally captured or killed.  Prosecution of these offenses lies with the Attorney General’s Office.[85]

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Dante Figueroa
Senior Legal Information Analyst
January 2013

 

[1] Code Forestier [Forestry Code] of October 17, 2008, available at FAOLEX, the legislative database of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) legal office, http://faolex.fao.org/docs/pdf/caf107432.pdf.

[2] Law 68 of December 28, 2007, portant Code de l’Environnement en République Centrafricaine [Code of the Environment of the Central African Republic], available at http://faolex.fao.org/docs/pdf/caf105925.pdf.

[3] Ordonnance nº 85.005 of January 30, 1985, portant fermeture de la chasse à l’éléphant [Concerning the Elimination of Elephant Hunting], available at http://faolex.fao.org/docs/pdf/caf39393.pdf.

[4] Ordonnance nº 84.062 of October 9, 1984 fixant les conditions de capture et d’exportation d’animaux sauvages vivants [Establishing the Conditions for the Capture and Exportation of Live Wild Animals], available at  http://faolex.fao.org/docs/pdf/caf39394.pdf.

[5] Ordonnance nº 84.045 of July 27, 1984 portant Protection de la Faune Sauvage et Réglementant l’exercise de la Chasse en République Centrafricaine [Concerning the Protection of Wildlife and the Regulation of Hunting in the Central African Republic], available at http://faolex.fao. org/cgi-bin/faolex.exe?rec_id=002601&database= faolex&search_type=link&table=result&lang=eng&format_name =@ERALL.

[6] Decree nº 84.341 of October 9, 1984 fixant les conditions d’obtention et les tarifs des permis de capture d’animaux sauvages vivants [Establishing the Conditions for Obtaining and the rates for Issuing of Permits to Capture Live Wild Animals], available at http://faolex.fao. org/docs/pdf/caf39395.pdf.

[7] Ordonnance nº 81-013 of November 23, 1981 rapportant les dispositions de l’ordonnance nº 80-30 portant interdiction de la commercialisation des produits de la chasse (ivoire) [Implementing the Provisions of Ordinance nº 80-30, Concerning the Prohibition of the Commercialization of Hunting Products (Ivory)], available at http://faolex. fao.org/docs/pdf/caf39396.pdf.

[8] Arrêté nº 0633 of October 13, 1972 portant création d’une carte d’identité professionnelle pour les guides de chasse exerçant en République centrafricaine [Concerning the Creation of a Professional Identity Card for Hunting Guides Working in the Central African Republic], available at  http://faolex.fao.org/docs/pdf/caf4162.pdf.

[9] Loi nº 422/63 of November 15, 1963, modifiant la Loi nº 62-343 du 1962 instituant un Conseil Supérieur de la Chasse [Amending Law nº 62-343 of 1962, Establishing a Supreme Council for Hunting], available at http:// faolex.fao.org/docs/pdf/caf39426.pdf.

[10] Loi nº 62/350 of January 4, 1963 relative à l’organisation de la protection des végétaux en République centrafricaine [Concerning the Organization for the Protection of Plants in the Central African Republic], available at  http://faolex.fao.org/docs/pdf/caf7180.pdf.

[11] Décret nº 62-239 of November 5, 1962 contre le braconage en période de transhumance [Against Poaching During Periods of Livestock Migration], available at  http://faolex.fao.org/docs/pdf/caf44471.pdf.

[12] Loi nº 61/276 of December 22, 1961 portant règlementation applicable aux chasseurs non résidents en matière d’introduction d’armes de chasse et de munitions [Concerning the Regulation of the Introduction of Hunting Weapons and Munitions by Nonresident Hunters], available at  http://faolex.fao.org/docs/pdf/caf44469.pdf.

[13] Loi nº 61/281 of December 22, 1961 règlementant l’exercice de la chasse et les produits de la chasse à caractère commercial [Regulating the Practice of Hunting and Commercial Hunting Products], available at http:// faolex.fao.org/docs/pdf/caf44470.pdf.

[14] Loi nº 60-126 of June 20, 1960 contre le braconage des transhumants [Against the Poaching of Migrant Livestock], available at http://faolex.fao. org/docs/pdf/caf44464.pdf.

[15] Law 422/63 of 1963, art. 2.

[16] Id. art. 10.

[17] Id. art. 13.

[18] Integral natural reserves are “areas devoid of all human presence.”  Ordinance 84.045 of 1984, art. 2.  Also according to article 2 of Ordinance 84.045 of 1984, entry into these areas or overflying them at altitudes of less than 200 meters is forbidden, except by prior authorization obtained in accordance with articles 101 and 102 of Ordinance 84.045 of 1984.  Id.

[19] Id. art. 66.

[20] Id. arts. 68–71.

[21] Id. art. 64.

[22] Id. art. 27.

[23] Id. art. 28.

[24] Law 61/281 of 1961, art. 16.

[25] Ordinance 84.045 of 1984, art. 30.

[26] Law 61/281 of 1961, art. 13.

[27] Ordinance 84.045 of 1984, art. 31.

[28] Law 61/281 of 1961, art. 17.

[29] Ordinance 84.062 of 1984, art. 10.

[30] Ordinance 84.045 of 1984, art. 34.

[31] Id. arts. 40–43.

[32] Id. art. 58.

[33] Id. art. 59.

[34] Id. art. 60.

[35] Id. arts. 44–45.

[36] Law 61/281 of 1961, art. 5.

[37] Annex II, List A of Ordinance 84.045 of 1984 includes, among others, the following animals: leopards, cheetas, gorillas, chimpanzees, rhinoceroses, jackals.  Annex II, List B of Ordinance 84.045 of 1984 includes, among others, the following animals: lions, servals (a type of wildcat), elephants, buffaloes.  Finally, Annex II, List C of Ordinance 84.045 of 1984 includes, among others, the following animals: mangabeys (an arboreal African monkey), cercocebus, horses, francolins, and hares.

[38] See Ordinance 84.045 of 1984, art. 27.

[39] Ordinance 84.062 of 1984, art. 3.

[40] Id. art. 5.

[41] Those animals are listed in Annex 2, List A, of Ordinance 84.045 of 1984.

[42] Ordinance 84.062 of 1984, art. 4.

[43] Id. arts. 1, 2.

[44] Decree 84.341 of 1984, art. 3.

[45] Law 61/281 of 1961, art. 2.

[46] The Centre National pour la Protection de la Fauna [National Center for the Protection and Management of Wildlife, CNPAF] collects the special tax on the exportation of live wild animals.  Ordinance 84.062 of 1984, arts. 9, 11.  A Decree of the Council of Ministers determines the tax rates for hunting permits.  Ordinance 84.045 of 1984, art. 47.

[47] Law 61/281 of 1961, art. 4.

[48] Decree 0633 of 1972, art. 3.

[49] Id. art. 6.

[50] A hunting act is “any act aimed at killing, injuring, or capturing game.”  Ordinance 84.045 of 1984, art. 33.  Ordinance 84.045 of 1984, art. 33 also provides that the carrying of hunting weapons or machines under the conditions established therein constitutes a hunting act.  Id.

[51] Id. art. 5.

[52] Decree 62-239 of 1962, art. 1.

[53] Ordinance 84.045 of 1984, arts. 61–63.

[54] Id. art. 78.

[55] Id. art. 80.

[56] Id. art. 79.

[57] Law 60-126 of 1960, art. 1.

[58] Ordinance 85.005 of 1985, art. 1.

[59] Ordinance 81-013 of 1981, art. 3.

[60] Ordinance 84.045 of 1984, art. 81.

[61] Id. art. 84.

[62] Ordinance 81-013 of 1981, art. 2.

[63] Id. art. 5.

[64] Ordinance 84.045 of 1984, art. 88; Ordinance 81-013 of 1981, art. 6.

[65] Ordinance 81-013 of 1981, art. 9.

[66] Id. art. 10.

[67] Id. art. 12.

[68] Id. art. 13.

[69] Law 61/281 of 1961, art. 8.

[70] Id. art. 9.

[71] Forestry Code of 2008, art. 96.

[72] Ordinance 84.045 of 1984

[73] Id. art. 106.

[74] Id. arts. 107-120.

[75] Id. art. 13.

[76] Law 62/350 of 1963, arts. 5–8.

[77] Ordinance 81-013 of 1981, art. 16.

[78] Forestry Code of 2008, art. 102.

[79] Ordinance 84.062 of 1984, art. 14.

[80] Ordinance 84.045 of 1984, art. 122.

[81] Decree 84.341 of 1984, art. 8.

[82] Ordinance 81-013 of 1981, art. 17.

[83] Law 62/350 of 1963, art. 4.

[84] Id. art. 5.

[85] Ordinance 84.045 of 1984, art. 129.

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Last Updated: 09/16/2014