It is possible to prosecute Walter Palmer under American law. “Possible” is the operative word. It is far from certain but it does provide a nice alternative to an equally tricky process which is to extradite him to Zimbabwe to be tried there.
What can Walter Palmer be charged and prosecuted with? If it can be proved beyond reasonable doubt that Palmer bribed park officials in Zimbabwe he could be charged under the American statute Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (FCPA).
In this instance the sections concerning bribery of foreign officials may apply to the Walter Palmer case. These sections of the Act make it unlawful for an American to pay a foreign official with the intention of obtaining business with any person or directing business to any person.
“It shall be unlawful for any United States person to corruptly do any act outside the United States in furtherance of an offer, payment, promise to pay, or authorization of the payment of any money, or offer, gift, promise to give, or authorization of the giving anything of value to any of the persons or entities set forth…
(A)(i) influencing any act or decision of such foreign official in his official capacity, (ii) inducing such foreign official to do or omit to do any act in violation of the lawful duty of such official, or (iii) securing any improper advantage..”
Officials in the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the US Attorney’s Office are looking at a complaint from Betty McCollum, a Democrat congresswoman at Walter Palmer’s state of Minnesota.
The complaint is being taken seriously. The congresswoman has requested that they examine whether Dr Palmer has contravened the above mentioned law and/or participated in the illegal hunting of a protected species.
Betty voiced the opinion of millions when she said:
“To bait and kill a threatened animal, like this African lion, for sport cannot be called hunting, but rather a disgraceful display of callous cruelty,”
I am sure many have heard that the Palmer case goes beyond politics; both Democrats and Republicans are speaking up demanding that Palmer be punished if convicted under the law. There is real anger which we hope can be converted to a genuine will to see this through at the highest level and to prosecute this dentist who so callously participated in the killing of Zimbabwe’s most famous lion, Cecil.
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