The project under implementation by UNDP Serbia supports the Ministry of Interior of Serbia to improve its capacities for the investigation of illicit SALW misuse, trafficking, and possession, focusing on strengthening the ballistic capacities of the Ministry of Interior. By improving the quality of investigations of illicit SALW misuse, trafficking, and possession through valid forensic evidence, the project will contribute to stronger legal proceedings and an increased number of SALW-related convictions.
Specifically, the project supports the development of SALW-related standard operating procedures (SOPs) on the chain of custody of law enforcement, crime scene investigation, packaging and tagging of evidence, and the development of an “open case file” for ballistic examination, which will facilitate the tracing of evidence throughout the chain of custody at all times, increasing thus the quality of investigations in cases of SALW- misuse, trafficking, and possession. The project is also supporting the development of a database where all evidence collected will be gathered and documented in order to make it easier to follow the custody chain and the last owner, while equipment for all CSI teams in Serbia will be also procured.
Furthermore, the project facilitates preparations for the accreditation process of the crime scene investigation infrastructure in Serbia, which will help prove that a forensic result and/or the related evidence has been retrieved in the most accurate and reliable way possible. This is essential for a transparent presentation of evidence within judicial proceedings, ensuring mutual trust related to the validity of evidence and fair legal procedures. It will also support generate reliable forensic evidence for more efficient cross-border exchange of reliable and consistent ballistic evidence.
Also, a Laboratory Inventory Management System (LIMS) will facilitate users to easily pull relevant information related to the typical forensic workflow, while the establishment of “open case file” at the central lab in Belgrade will enable adequate storage and tracking of the bullets, cartridge cases and wadding collected from unsolved gun crime scenes.
Finally, given the high percentage of criminal reports of domestic violence dismissed by the prosecution due to the lack of evidence and unwillingness of the victims to testify, the project envisages a combination of capacity building activities and the development of relevant procedures for improving the collection of evidence related to domestic violence cases. By improving police capacities for collecting evidence and conducting criminal investigations in reported cases of domestic violence, the project will support the Ministry of Interior to better tackle the cases of SALW-related domestic violence, and contribute to fairer legal proceedings and merit penalties from the justice system for the perpetrators of these criminal offenses.
Implementing period: October 2019 – September 2021
Results achieved as of 31 December 2020:
- The project enabled the tracing of evidence throughout the chain of custody through the amendment of the SOPs on the chain of custody of law enforcement, CSI, and packaging and tagging of evidence.
- The project supported the preparation of the CSI infrastructure accreditation in line with the ISO 17020 standard. The accreditation will help prove that forensic results and/or the related evidence have been retrieved most accurately and reliably possible. This is essential for a transparent presentation of evidence within judicial proceedings, ensuring mutual trust related to the validity of evidence.
- The project helped gain a better understanding of the necessary capacities for the collection of evidence and for conducting criminal investigations in reported cases of domestic violence through related analysis on domestic violence.
- The project enabled the CSI units to increase the quality of their work through the provision of necessary specialized equipment and training on the use of the procured equipment.
- The project facilitated adequate storage and tracking of the bullets, cartridge cases, and wadding collected from unsolved gun crime scenes through the establishment of the open case file.
- The project also enabled an adequate storage room of the surrendered evidence through the installation of a reception room and the provision of transfer storage equipment.
- The project helped improve the effectiveness of firearm testing and increase the safety of the ballistic experts through the installation of a water tank for test firing and delivery of related training.