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"One of the best training I've ever received"

Panama, July 23, 2020. "It has been one of the best training I have received," said Odalys Morales, field legal assistant at the Public Defense Institute of West Panama, referring to the course on basic aspects of research offered by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for Central America and the Caribbean (UNODC ROPAN) through the project “Consolidation of Criminal Procedure Reform in Panama”.
For this collaborator of the Panamanian Judicial Branch, "the teachers (of the course) have been very explicit, as well as the material they provided". Morales highlights that, among the topics that most caught her interest, are authenticity and digital evidence, "since it is a computer system, which is delicate because it works with the HASH value".

New topics
"These trainings reinforce the empirical knowledge that we have and combine the academic aspect with experience in the field," says Julio Rogelio Alonso Díaz, circuit prosecutor of the Primary Care Section of the Regional Prosecutor's Office of West Panama. He adds that these courses allow him to absorb "the experience of the tutors, who have worked in the dynamics of the accusatory criminal procedure system, which has few years in Panama.
Díaz agrees with Morales that one of the most innovative topics in the training offered virtually has been the obtaining of the HASH code. "This aspect is totally unknown (...) every day you learn something new. Very interesting".
Captain Anel Antonio Rodríguez, head of an investigation section of the Judicial Investigation Directorate, thinks that the course on basic aspects of investigation has been "innovative, well structured, with good trainers and topics of interest related to our area of investigation.
Rodríguez has 15 years of experience in the area of investigation and, of the course given, he appreciates the format for planning the investigation that he was given: "very well structured, it enters as a backbone, it allows you to establish what you have and what you need, even this format allows you to see elements that you suddenly do not see in the investigation booklet and, with this format, you find them faster".
Of course, in the course he also came across familiar topics, "such as the parameters for making reports, but it's good to refresh everything about the making and the key points for an interview, as well as the importance of forensics in the investigation".

Intensive and practical
The six-week training was intensive. This was mentioned by Fátima Cedeño, who works as a Public Defender for Crime Victims in the Department of Free Legal Advice for Crime Victims. However, for this official with 10 years of experience, the course "was neither tedious nor heavy; on the contrary, it invited people to pay attention and put into practice what they had learned".
In her daily work, she assures that she will put into practice the techniques of "investigation planning and interviewing".

Abdiel Lasso, an investigative agent of the Judicial Investigation Directorate, thanked UNODC for having taken into account the collaborators of the Panamanian Public Force and the Public Ministry to provide this training.
"We will be able to share these lessons with our colleagues," said Lasso.