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Specialized courses on investigation of disappeared persons cases in El Salvador

San Salvador, December 13, 2022. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) concluded a series of eleven (11) training courses on the investigation of cases of disappeared persons, aimed at participants from the Attorney General's Office, National Civil Police and National Academy of Public Security.

The courses were developed in coordination with the Attorney General´s Training School and the National Civil Police Investigations Sub-Directorate, to strengthen the capacities of officers from the different regions of El Salvador in the search for disappeared persons, as part of the training efforts that reach more than 700 offices nationwide.

The training focused on strengthening the operational skills of the participants to implement the Urgent Action Protocol and the Strategy for the Search for Disappeared Persons, in an articulated manner and in accordance with the requirements of due diligence. The course also strengthened the criminal legal knowledge of the participants, about the crimes of disappearance of persons and enforced disappearance, as well as other related criminal acts, international standards and state obligations in the investigation process.

Participants deepened their knowledge of strategies for conducting interviews, oriented towards a dignified treatment, and learned more about the rights of victims and the need for a comprehensive approach in cases of disappeared persons. “I take with me several tools for the implementation of search strategies for disappeared persons,” said Iris Esmeralda Aguilar, participant from the Attorney General’s Office.

The courses were delivered by Jorge Londoño, international expert in cases of disappeared persons; Marisol Ariza, international expert on human rights, and Vida Gómez Asturias, coordinator of the UNODC disappeared persons project; as well as national instructors trained in the framework of the project.

“I have learned how to dynamize the investigations of disappeared person cases, with new techniques and application of methodology to obtain optimal performance and better results," said Gustavo Vázquez, beneficiary of the training.

This course has provided a great deal of knowledge and experience, especially when working with professionals at an inter-institutional level. It also brings challenges to each of the institutions involved, which allows us to take steps forward in the investigation of this crime," said Jocelin de Mayorga, instructor at the National Public Security Academy.

“What I learned is that we must make all our capabilities fully available to the victims, in order to provide an effective response to family members and victims, with the main objective of finding the person alive”, said Roberto Santos, from the National Civil Police.

The trainings delivered by UNODC are part of the project "Strengthening the implementation of management tools for cases of disappearances and torture that affect women, men and youth in El Salvador (2020-2023)", implemented with the financial support of the Government of Canada.