ARUSHA, Tanzania, March 22, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Police Chiefs of the East African Community (EAC) Partner States have overwhelmingly supported an EAC initiative to set up a Regional Referral Forensic Centre (RRFC) to tame crime.
The Police Chiefs expressed their support separately during visits by eight-member EAC Partner States fact-finding delegation of Forensic Experts to assess the countries’ suitability of hosting the RRFC, which began 8 March 2012.
Article 124 the EAC Treaty recognizes the need for peace and security within the Partner States. It is further elaborated through the Strategy for Regional Peace and Security adopted by the 13th Council of Ministers meeting. In an effort to formulate measures to combat terrorism, Goal 10 of the Strategy provides for enhancement of forensic services with establishment of an RRFC.
The EAC has already initiated the harmonization of Peace and Security initiatives, common policing standards, joint investigation, exchange of information and mutual legal assistance in the Partner States, among others..
“Forensic science of today covers modern computer; DNA fingerprinting; autopsy techniques; forensic anthropology and; toxicology etc. What more reliable method is there to prove innocent or guilty other than through science?” EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Political Federation, Hon. Beatrice Kiraso, stated before the mission embarked on its 12-day long tour.
She further said that the importance of regional forensic services becomes even more necessary and inevitable in the advent of regional integration which has now moved to the second stage of a common market.
CP Fabien Ndayishimiye, Director General of Burundi National Police, said: “EAC is one family. Any crime in one Partner State is likened to a crime in another Partner State. We have to work together for our common future and prosperity,” he said when the team paid a courtesy call on him in Bujumbura and after making on-the-spot inspection of forensic investigation facilities and conferring with experts.
Inspector General of Police of Rwanda Emmanuel Gasana applauded the EAC for pioneering the regional referral center, adding that Rwanda fully supports such an initiative. “We are seriously waiting to see establishment of a very good facility in addressing the emerging crimes,” he said in Kigali.
He added that Rwanda had already decided to upgrade its own forensic facility to address investigation challenges. “The government spends huge amounts of meager resources to outsource forensic services and expertise from abroad but time is ripe to acquire our own services and expertise which will cut down on both the time and the resources,” he underscored.
Inspector General of Police of Tanzania, Saidi Mwema, also backed the idea of a regional forensic facility and professional police services in East African countries.
“We want to see the people in an integrated East Africa benefit and be proud of our professional police services,” the IGP emphasized, adding that Tanzania has already approved and executed drastic police force reforms, including modernizing its forensic investigation capacity, among others.
“All these efforts have full government backing,” he told the visiting EAC forensic experts delegation in Dar es Salaam.
The Inspector General of Police of Uganda Lt General Kale Kayihura stated that East African countries needed ultra-modern forensic services, citing the terrorist bombings in Kampala as a case in point which necessitated outsourcing some forensic services in their investigations.
“If Partner States can pool together their capacities, we can achieve a lot,” stressed Grace Akullu, the Assistant Inspector General of Uganda Police and Uganda’s Head of Criminal Investigations Department (CID), who represented Lt. Gen. Kayihura.
The Head of Delegation, Mr. Didacus Kaguta, who is the EAC Peace and Security Officer, said that the objective of establishing the regional centre was to set up standards such as quality control, certification of forensic scientists and accreditation of forensic laboratories.
“The facility is also expected to offer high-class training and research services,” Kaguta said, adding that the facility would store data, among others, and share it with the Partner State when required.
“Even the experts will be readily available from the Centre to beef up the national resources during the time of need like emerging calamities such as terrorist attack investigations.”
The assessment mission has been jointly facilitated by the EAC and the Federal German Government.
According to GIZ Peace and Security Advisor Joachim Von Bonin, the German Government has shared a long history with the EAC and enjoys a very cordial partnership in various areas of integration efforts, one of them being in Peace and Security in the region.
The report of the experts will be presented to the next meeting of the Chiefs of Police and the fifth Sectoral Council on Inter-State Security for consideration and adoption.
Forensic Science is used for the purposes of the law and provides impartial scientific evidence for use in the courts of law, e.g. in a criminal investigation and trial. Forensic Science is a multidisciplinary subject, drawing principally from chemistry and biology, but also physics, geology, psychology and social science.
In a typical criminal investigation crime scene investigators, sometimes known as scenes-of-crime-officers (SOCO’s), will gather material evidence from the crime scene, victim and/or suspect.
Forensic scientists will examine these materials to provide scientific evidence to assist in the investigation and court proceedings, and thus work closely with the police. Senior forensic scientists, who usually specialize in one or more of the key forensic disciplines, may be required to attend crime scenes or give evidence in court as impartial expert witnesses.
Examples of forensic science include the use of gas chromatography to identify seized drugs, DNA profiling to help identify a murder suspect from a bloodstain found at the crime scene, and laser Raman spectroscopy to identify microscopic paint fragments.
East African Community (EAC)