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Cablegate: Brazil's New Environmental Court

VZCZCXRO1231
PP RUEHAO RUEHCD RUEHGA RUEHGD RUEHGR RUEHHA RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG
RUEHNL RUEHQU RUEHRD RUEHRG RUEHRS RUEHTM RUEHVC
DE RUEHBR #1581 2161922
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041922Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6241
INFO RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 2574
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 7606
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 5205
RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS

UNCLAS BRASILIA 001581

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV ETRD KSCA BR
SUBJECT: BRAZIL'S NEW ENVIRONMENTAL COURT


1. Despite being or potentially because of being one of the leading
Brazilian-states in terms of environmental damages, Para (PA) has
created the first Special Environmental Court in the country. The
court, located in Para's capital, Belem, will try small-scale
environmental crimes; those that could be punished by up to two
years in prison. These include illegal hunting or fishing, cutting
of forests and selling and transportation of wildlife species and
plants.

2. The objective of the new court is to streamline the judicial
process associated with environmental crime. Procedures that would
take an average of a year and a half should now be solved in a
maximum of ten days. Since the crimes that will be analyzed are
considered minor offences, the court can issue alternative penalties
such as financing environmental programs or undertaking community
service. Although the new court will only be responsible for crimes
that take place in Belem, the local government is already studying
the possibility of implementing other Special Courts throughout the
state.

3. Comment: It is important to point out that the slow judicial
processes are one of Brazil's most pressing obstacles in combating
environmental degradation. Compounding this issue, less than 5% of
fines levied against environmental crimes are actually paid. Novel
solutions such as this court could be one of a variety of
first-steps to help minimize these problems. End Comment

SOBEL

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