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This Module discussed the role of firearms in the criminal justice system, and how they are detected and investigated. Issues with illicit manufacturing, misuse, and trafficking of firearms are intrinsically linked to global organized crime organizations that rely on the availability of firearms in order to carry out their activities. To ensure that those involved in firearms violence, and in particular illicit trafficking, are brought to justice, a strong criminal justice response is required. However, without effective enforcement and cooperation, any attempt to reduce firearms violence will be limited. Issues with variations and a lack of coordination in policies, legislation, and prioritizing can hamper efforts to coordinate data, investigate and detect. This can impede attempts to combat firearms crime and reduce the flow of illicit firearms. International cooperation is vital in any attempt to combat armed violence and general transnational security threats as illicit firearms trafficking continues to pose a significant threat to security (Savona and Mancuso, 2017).

A well-functioning criminal justice system improves access to justice, ensuring it complies with human rights, protecting the rights of both victims and offenders whilst preventing violence and armed conflicts. It is important to ensure tailored training on human rights occurs in line with criminal justice frameworks, so that those involved can guarantee that the human rights of the suspect/accused are protected. Increased cooperation needs a holistic approach to address the challenges, whilst “strengthening the capacity of the criminal justice system to detect, investigate and prosecute firearms criminality, and making effective use of mechanisms of international law, including enforcement cooperation and information exchange” (UNODC, 2018a: 1).

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