16 December 2011 - The Palestinian National Authority and UNODC have launched a US$10.9 million project to help improve the application of scientific methods and techniques to the investigation of crime in the occupied Palestinian territories.
"This project will strengthen the foundations of and operational tools for modern forensic science and forensic medicine services in the occupied Palestinian territories. It will help personnel to develop the expertise and capacity to perform forensic examinations in a professional manner and in accordance with international standards," said the Chief of the UNODC Laboratory and Scientific Section, Mr. Justice Tettey.
The project was launched last week in Ramallah by the Minister of Justice, the Minister of the Interior and the Attorney General, as well as senior officials from the Ministry of Planning and Administrative Development, UNODC, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Palestinian Civil Police and other key stakeholders.
One of the goals of the project is to improve the performance of laboratories so that they meet international standards and can provide their clients (including members of the judiciary, law enforcement officers and health and regulatory authorities) with reliable data for more effective criminal justice processes.
The two major components of this project will be the development of forensic science (application of scientific methods and techniques to the investigation of crime) and forensic medicine (application of medical knowledge to the investigation of crime). Another focus will be on investment in training future leaders in the field through building their administrative and management skills.
As part of the project, a temporary forensic science laboratory training facility will be set up. Key services will include drug, chemical and trace evidence analysis, firearms evidence examination, tool mark comparison and document examination .
While the project aims to strengthen existing forensic medicine institutes, it is envisaged that a national centre for forensic medicine will eventually be established. Emphasis will also be placed on the expansion of clinical forensic medicine services, especially with regard to sexual assault and family violence.
The project, funded by CIDA, forms part of the regional programme of the UNODC Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa and will be implemented in full cooperation and partnership with the Palestinian National Authority.