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September 01, 2011

Forensic Workshops Prepare Trainees to Train Their Colleagues

September 2011

 Due to a decade-long civil insurgency—during which forced disappearances, extrajudicial killings and summary execution were common practice—a culture of impunity threatens to cripple Nepal’s political transition and to corrode public confidence in government institutions. The country’s legal and law enforcement communities are struggling to combat this phenomenon.

To discharge this task successfully, Nepal’s law enforcement, prosecutors and forensic experts need to more effectively investigate and prosecute human rights abuses. Supported by the U.S. Department of State, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) partnered with Equipo Peruano de Antropología Forense (EPAF), a Peruvian anthropology team, to conduct a series of workshops to build the forensic capacity of police, prosecutors, the National Human Rights Commission, civil society and other public bodies.

From June 22–24 and again from June 26–28, EPAF experts led two forensic investigation seminars for Nepalese trainers. Twenty-nine representatives from the National Human Rights Commission, National Police, National Forensic Laboratory, Nepal Bar Association, Informal Sector Service Center, Advocacy Forum and the Office of the Attorney General attended the trainings. Held in Kathmandu, these workshops build on the introductory forensics trainings ABA ROLI and EPFA offered in the spring and fall of 2010. The series of workshops covered several issues, including post-mortem recovery and analysis of evidence, including DNA. Trainers reviewed previously discussed topics and participants worked in groups to explore different phases of forensic investigation, such as conducting a preliminary investigation and documenting, analyzing and interpreting evidence.

Designed to provide participants with hands-on experience on training their colleagues to better investigate forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings, the workshops also presented skills-sharing and learning-facilitation techniques. Participants later practiced their newly acquired skills by presenting lessons from EPAF-developed curriculum.

Trainees said that the workshops raised their confidence to train their colleagues and that the skills they learned will help them to transfer their knowledge to other criminal justice stakeholders. Over the coming months, ABA ROLI will continue to work with the trainees in their efforts to train their colleagues.

To learn more about our work in Nepal, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at [email protected]