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"This training has allowed us to acquire necessary knowledge in the justice system"

The course on basic aspects of the investigation involving digital evidence delivered by UNODC was of "great value and importance, especially at this time of changes in the way we communicate", says Nuedin Nieto Robles, who works as an assistant defender in the Office for Victims of Crime in the province of Chiriqui.

This training provided "very important tools for the trajectory of what is being investigated", says Donald Francis Prado, who works in the Public Defense Office and was one of the 50 participants in the course held from April 7 to May 14 through the Project to Consolidate Criminal Procedure Reform in Panama.

Hugo Ramirez, from the Directorate of Judicial Investigation / INTERPOL, said that the seminar allowed him to acquire the necessary knowledge in the justice system "to strengthen the legitimacy and transparency in judicial processes, regarding the correct handling of judicial evidence".

"For some time now, the way we communicate has been changing and the digital process of information and communications has accelerated, which implies that there has been a constant exploration and search in cyberspace, therefore, this inevitably leads to negative actions by cybercriminals," explained Nieto Robles.

"As part of the justice enforcement gear, it is up to us to be consistent with that transition, and it is through training that we can update ourselves and acquire new knowledge, we can also understand the way in which these crimes are executed and thus be able to apply all that knowledge for the benefit of justice," he added.

For Hugo Ramirez it is very positive that this course unifies the knowledge and protocols involved in the correct handling of an investigation involving the use of technology.

This training "has provided us with information on investigations involving digital evidence to be presented in a trial", concluded Donald Francis Prado.

The course on basic aspects of investigation involving digital evidence was conducted in conjunction with the Higher Institute of the Judiciary of Panama, Doctor Cesar Augusto Quintero Correa (ISJUP) and lasted 60 hours. It included asynchronous activities such as readings, case resolution, videos and assignments uploaded to the Blackboard virtual platform of the Higher Institute of the Judiciary of Panama.

Participants included collaborators from the Investigation Unit of the Public Defense Office, Victims' Defense, the Public Prosecutor's Office and the Judicial Investigation Directorate.

The objective of this training was to provide the participants with the opportunity to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to identify the correct use of the procedure for the collection of digital evidence and the correct presentation in the process.

Some of the topics that were developed during this course were: the presentation of the legal characteristics of digital evidence; international conventions ratified by Panama on digital evidence; digital evidence in social networks and web; phases of collection, identification and securing of digital evidence; authentication, admissibility and probative value of digital evidence, among others.