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Drafting workshop to update the procedural manual on digital evidence in the chain of custody in Panama

Panama, May 13, 2022. In criminal matters, the incorporation of digital evidence is not limited to those processes in which cybercrimes are investigated, but, in an accelerated manner, all criminal investigations are crossed by the presence of this evidence. 

In this regard, although the legislation of many countries, thanks to the Budapest Convention, has made progress in the criminalization of cybercrimes, the fact is that the Procedural Codes have not undergone significant changes related to digital evidence and its treatment. As part of the consultancy for the development of a procedural manual for digital evidence around the chain of custody, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime delivered a drafting workshop to update this document during May 12 and 13.

This workshop, which will be complemented with a validation workshop and a roadmap workshop for structural change, was attended by 25 officials from the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences, the Attorney General's Office, the Judiciary and the National Police.

Among the objectives of this training activity were:

a.  Identify the growing need for the incorporation of digital evidence into the criminal process.

b. Acquire or reaffirm knowledge on the particular characteristics and complexities that this type of evidence presents; making special reference to the means of evidence and comparative legislation.

c. Identify the role and scope of action of the different actors involved in the chain of custody of digital evidence.

d. Evaluate the current regulations in Panama in order to verify the need to establish a Guide or Procedural Manual on digital evidence and its chain of custody.

e. Promote the exchange of ideas so that attendees - from their field of action - propose changes and suggestions to be incorporated into a first outline / draft procedural manual on digital evidence in the chain of custody. 

This workshop was held within the framework of the UNODC digital evidence project supported by the government of the United Kingdom.