UNODC Supports Terrorist Crime Scene Management and Forensic Investigations in Tunisia

The first moments after a terrorist attack require prompt and coordinated action by first responders.

Immediate aid and support to the victims is crucial – as is the preservation of the crime scene which involves delicately recovering and collecting evidence that could lead to the identification of the perpetrator(s) and the prevention of future attacks.

To promote effective coordination during the aftermath of terrorist attacks, UNODC’s Terrorism Prevention Branch delivered a workshop for Tunisia on crime scene management and forensic investigation in urban areas on 16-27 November 2020. The activity was implemented jointly with CT-MENA* and brought together 18 participants, including three women.

The workshop was delivered in-person by forensic experts using a combination of online presentations, case studies, live simulations and practical exercises. The topics covered during the event addressed the relationship between investigators and magistrates, as well as the role and responsibilities of first responders in the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack. Furthermore, the workshop highlighted the importance of efficient communication and coordination with foreign services during terrorist investigations.

During the event, references to real case scenarios were made such as the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris (in particular, the attack that targeted the Bataclan) which fostered interaction among the participants. This in turn allowed them to share their experiences about similar cases they experienced in Tunisia.

Finally, participants exchanged good practices regarding the collection and management of forensic evidence and took stock of advanced techniques and technologies that became recently available in forensic investigations.

The event was hosted at the Tunisian National Police Academy Salammbô, as part of UNODC’s project to build the capacity of security forces and judicial personnel in terrorism-related cases which is funded by the European Union. The activity was implemented with the support of UNODC’s forensic experts, representatives of the International Criminal Court and judicial officials from courts of appeal in the North Africa region.

* The partnership between UNODC and CT-MENA (a European Union-funded programme implemented by the French public agency for international technical assistance) forms part of a broader training programme, which will include a live exercise in 2021.