MOSCOW, JUNE 18 – RAPSI. On June 18, 2013 State Duma of the Russian Federation adopted in the third reading legal amendments that introduce criminal responsibilities with maximum imprisonment up to 7 years for harvest of and trade in rare and endangered wildlife, including the Amur tiger.
Criminal Code of the Russian Federation was supplemented with an article 258.1 on responsibility for illegal harvest and trafficking of rare animals and aquatic biological resources included in the Red Species List. Violators may face corrective labour for a term of up to two years, or compulsory labour for a term of up to three years and fine of up to 1 million roubles, or a jail term of up to three years and fine of up to 1 million roubles, or imprisonment for one year.
Officials may face imprisonment for a period up to five years and fine of up to 2 million roubles with deprivation of right to hold specific posts or to be engaged in specified activities for a period of up to three years. If a crime is committed by a group of persons, they may face a jail term of up to five-seven years and fine of up to 2 million roubles. Money and other valuables earned illegally as a result of wildlife trafficking will be seized.
These legal amendments impose criminal responsibility for smuggling highly-valued wildlife and aquatic biological resources, as well as their parts and derivatives, during their transportation across the customs border of the Customs Union within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Community, or across the border between the Russian Federation and countries – members of the Customs Union. Also, administrative responsibility is strengthened for the extermination of rare and endangered animals and plants.
Sergei Bereznuk, Director of the Phoenix Fund: “In July 2010, in the run-up to the International Tiger Forum in St. Petersburg, a new Federal Strategy for Amur Tiger Conservation in Russia was approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation. During the preparation of the Strategy, a number of recommendations were suggested by representatives of the Phoenix Fund and other organizations. And the proposed amendments to Criminal and Administrative Codes of the Russian Federation were included into the new Strategy, and now they have been approved by Russia’s State Duma. We hope that the bill will soon be approved by the Federation Council, the Duma’s upper chamber, and signed by the President of the Russian Federation at once”.