From 31 August to 4 September 2015, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the government of The Bahamas, conducted a three-day training course, a technical assessment of national capabilities and infrastructures, and a seminar for prosecutors, magistrates, and other institutional representatives from investigative units or crime scene units, in Nassau.
A three-day training course on operational forensic ballistics of firearms enabled 19 participants, including firearms examiners, armourers 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. The course included a simulation of the presentation of expert testimony of forensic ballistic evidence in a court of law. This was the opportunity for participants to exchange best practices and challenges faced in the field.
The national assessment, carried out in cooperation with the Forensics Laboratory of the Royal Bahamian Police Force (RBPF), took in consideration issues related lead contamination, adequate protective equipment, firearms safety protocols, evidence management, equipment as well as the continuing of 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 institutional representatives on the strengths and shortcomings of firearms forensic ballistics in support of building court cases, as well as in generating intelligence to identify sources and routes used for illicit arms trafficking. In addition, UNLIREC staff 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 financial support of the US Department of State. The project was designed to increase the capacities of Caribbean States to combat illicit firearms, especially in the area of tracing and prosecuting.
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.