UNLIREC provides assistance on forensic ballistics to Guyana

From 2-7 November 2015, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the government of Guyana, carried out a three-day training course, a technical assessment of national capabilities and infrastructure, and a seminar for the institutional clients of firearms forensic ballistics in Georgetown. These included officials from the Judiciary, Ministry of Public Security and the Guyana Police force, among others.

A three-day training course on operational forensic ballistics enabled 8 participants, including firearms examiners and other specialized law enforcement personnel to increase their knowledge on topics such as firearms and ammunition identification and examination, comparison microscopy, range of fire determination and double casting. The course included a simulation of the presentation of expert testimony of forensic ballistic evidence in a court of law and provided the opportunity for participants to exchange best practices and challenges faced in the field.

The national assessment, carried out in cooperation with the Ballistics Unit of the Guyana Police Force Crime lab, took into consideration the occupational health and safety of the firearms examiners (e.g. lead contamination), adequate protective equipment, firearms safety protocols, evidence management, as well as the continuing education plans for firearm and toolmark examiners and other laboratory personnel. The main recommendations of the assessment will be integrated in the two year capacity-building work plan for forensic ballistics.

The seminar raised the awareness of 17 institutional clients of firearms forensic ballistics on the strengths and shortcomings of forensic ballistics in support of building court cases, as well as in generating intelligence to identify sources and routes used for illicit arms trafficking. The seminar also benefited from the presence of the Honourable Minister of Public Security Mr. Kemraj Ramjattan who thanked UNLIREC for its current initiative and previous technical assistance to Guyana. UNLIREC staff also provided a review of best practices in forensic ballistics analysis and investigative techniques.

This initiative is part of the UNLIREC Caribbean Operational Forensic Ballistics Assistance Package, which is made possible thanks to the support of the US Department of State.

UNLIREC, as the regional organ of the UN Office for Disarmament, seeks to advance the cause of practical disarmament in Latin America and the Caribbean as part of its commitment to support Member States in their implementation of international disarmament and non-proliferation instruments, in particular, the 2001 UN Programme of Action on Small Arms.

For more information on UNLIREC visit (www.unlirec.org). Please direct all questions or inquiries to Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer (cowl@unlirec.org).

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