In response to a request from the Government of Guyana for specialized training to help its judicial sectors address the illicit trafficking in firearms, ammunition and explosives, and – in effect – contribute to a reduction in impunity and armed violence, UNLIREC organized a national course for judicial officers and legal practitioners in Guyana from 28-30 May 2014 in Georgetown.
The specialized course trained 28 legal practitioners and law enforcement personnel on different techniques and procedures to combat illicit small arms trafficking, aimed to strengthen the coordination, communication and cooperation among all relevant legal operators working in this area as well as reducing impunity in firearms related-crimes.
It is worth noting that half of the participants were women, which represents an important step towards women empowerment in the justice and security sector, including training.
International instructors and national experts were in charge of delivering the various course modules dealing with firearms and ammunition classification; firearms proliferation and armed violence; international firearms instruments and national regulatory frameworks; inter-institutional and international cooperation; crime scene management and forensic ballistics. With the goal of applying the knowledge acquired, participants concluded the training course with a practical exercise consisting of a mock trial case involving illicit firearms trafficking and possession. The practical exercise highlighted how the proper handling of the crime scene, respect for the chain of custody, inter-institutional and international cooperation tools and resources, and a suitable criminal legal framework constitute essential elements in reducing impunity in the fight against illicit small arms trafficking.
This training course forms part of a wider UNLIREC Caribbean assistance package in operation since 2010. The assistance package contains activities aimed at improving stockpile management and weapons and ammunition destruction practices; providing legal assistance; and training security sector officials. This assistance was made possible with the financial support from the United States Government.
As the Regional Centre of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, UNLIREC serves 33 States in the region in assisting them in the development of disarmament policies and the implementation of international disarmament instruments, most notably the UN 2001 Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons.
For more information on UNLIREC visit (www.unlirec.org.) Please direct all questions or inquiries to Ms Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer, at cowl[at]unlirec.org