UNLIREC assists Guyana in combating illicit firearms trafficking from a legal perspective

In response to a request from the Government of Guyana for specialized training to help its judicial sectors address the illicit trafficking in small arms, ammunition and explosives, and – in effect – contribute to a reduction in impunity and armed violence, UNLIREC undertook a national course for judicial officers and legal practitioners from 28-30 May 2014 in Georgetown.

The specialized course trained 28 legal practitioners and law enforcement authorities on different techniques and procedures to combat illicit small arms trafficking, thus strengthening the coordination, communication and cooperation of all relevant legal operators working in this area as well as reducing impunity in firearms related-crimes.

Representatives from the Director of Public Prosecutions Chambers, Attorney-General´s Chambers & Ministry of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, Guyana Police Force, and Guyana Forensics Science Laboratory were trained during this three-day course. Half of course participants were women, which represents an important step towards women empowerment in the justice and security sector, including training.

International instructors and national experts were in charge of delivering the various course modules dealing with firearms and ammunition classification; firearms proliferation and armed violence; international firearms instruments and national regulatory frameworks; inter-institutional and international cooperation; crime scene management and forensic ballistics. With the goal of applying the knowledge acquired, participants concluded the training course with a practical exercise consisting of a mock trial case involving illicit firearms trafficking and possession. The practical exercise highlighted how the proper handling of the crime scene, respect for the chain of custody, inter-institutional and international cooperation tools and resources, and a suitable criminal legal framework constitute essential elements in reducing impunity in the fight against illicit small arms trafficking.

This training course forms part of a wider UNLIREC Caribbean assistance package in operation since 2010. The assistance package contains activities aimed at improving stockpile management and weapons and ammunition destruction practices; providing legal assistance; and training security sector officials. This assistance was made possible with the financial support from the United States Government.

As the Regional Centre of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, UNLIREC serves 33 States in the region in assisting them in the development of disarmament policies and the implementation of international disarmament instruments, most notably the UN 2001 Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons.

For more information on UNLIREC visit (www.unlirec.org.) Please direct all questions or inquiries to: Ms Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer, at (cowl@unlirec.org).

UN multi-agency response to citizen security challenges in northern Peru

Trujillo, 22 May 2014 – The United Nations System in Peru presents today a joint programme in human security in the city of Trujillo whose objective will be to reduce public insecurity in its various manifestations – organized crime, violence against women and the involvement of youths in criminal activities – as well as fight against corruption.

The presentation of the programme entitled Strengthening Human Security and Community Resilience via the impulse of Peaceful Coexistence in Peru will be headed by Walter Albán, Interior Minister, and Flavio Mirella, Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). In addition, local and national authorities will be attending the event.

The programme assumes a multisectoral vision of the issue of urban security and will be implemeted in the districts La Esperanza, Florencia de Mora and El Porvenir. It is expected that some 7,600 persons in these communities will benefit from the activities. The initiative will implement a selfsustainable, multisectoral, comprehensive and replicable model in order to reduce crime in Trujillo, involving the participation of neighbours, application of preventive measures and opportunities for jobs and education.

Against the increase in violent crime, juvenile delinquency, drug trafficking, human trafficking, corruption and weapons supply, this United Nations programme and the Peruvian Government seek to reduce the participation of youths in gangs, provide opportunities for professional and vocational development, as well as offer educational and health-related resources for more than 1,600 girls and young women.

Also, the initiative, led by the Joint Programme for Human Security of the United Nations in Peru, will provide technical and juridical assistance to the local authorities for the design and implementation of public policies that consider a comprehensive vision of security and that favor a better interaction between the national institutions and the local communities, as well as with civil society.

Five United Nations agencies will be in charge of implementation: the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Panamerican Health Organization (OPS) and the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development (UNLIREC).

For the Peruvian government, the Ministries of the Interior, Justice, Education and Health as well as the Public Ministry, the judicial branch, the national police and the regional government of La Libertad as well as the municipalities of Trujillo, La Esperanza, Florencia de Mora, El Porvenir and representatives of civil society will participate.

The Project is financed by the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security and by the Peruvian Government and will have a duration of three years. The initiative is expected to be replicable in other sectors of the region and the country.

Source: United Nations Information Centre

UNLIREC contributes to legislative dialogue on citizen security and arms control in Peru

UNLIREC was invited by the Peruvian Congress to participate in a roundtable on small arms control and citizen security during the first week of December 2014. This roundtable was comprised of representatives from a diverse range of public institutions, small arms experts, small arms users, academics and other members of civil society who were given the opportunity to share their perspectives on the role of small arms control within the context of citizen security issues.

UNLIREC’s interventions, led by Dr. Godnick, Public Security Programme Coordinator, focused on the importance of a national strategy for small arms control based on four pillars: control and transparency in the legal small arms control trade; strengthening of institutions and their personnel to better combat illicit small arms trafficking; responsible management of national stockpiles; and a robust legal framework on the possession and use of small arms.

In addition, UNLIREC made recommendations on the new bill of law formulated by the National Superintendence for the Control of Security Services, Arms, Ammunition and Explosives for Civilian Use (SUCAMEC), acknowledging the positive aspects within the new bill, such as prohibiting the recirculation of small arms, the marking of small arms upon importation, and a call to destroy small arms used in illicit activities once the legal proceedings on these cases have been concluded. Furthermore, UNLIREC suggested addressing some of the gaps within the bill, including definitions and specification of criminal conducts as related to parts and components, illicit manufacturing, illicit trafficking and the altering of small arms markings. The final recommendation stressed the need and importance of regulating ammunition.

The new bill of law will be the subject of debate in upcoming legislative sessions. UNLIREC supports the Government of Peru in its efforts to implement international instruments on conventional arms control, including small arms and light weapons.

For more information on UNLIREC visit [www.unlirec.org]. Please direct all questions or inquiries to: Ms. Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer, [cowl@unlirec.org].

UNLIREC and Belize engage in efforts to strengthen its national firearms  legal control framework

On 4 March 2014, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) held a legal seminar on implementing the international firearms agreements in Belmopan. The seminar was addressed to legal affairs officials from the Ministry of National Security, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Attorney’s General Ministry, the Department of Public Prosecutions, Magistrates Court, Belize Police Department and National Forensic Science Services.

UNLIREC presented a comparative analysis between Belize’s legislation with existing international firearms obligations highlighting the progressive elements and crossed-checking and referencing against the country’s obligations under the various firearms-related international instruments, including the UN 2001 PoA on Small Arms and Light Weapons; UN Firearms Protocol; CIFTA Convention; and the International Tracing Instrument. UNLIREC also offered its legal expertise on the subject matter to conduct an assessment on future proposed amendments to the national firearms act and other relevant legislation, if the Government deems this appropriate.

This legal seminar aims at strengthening national efforts to implement the firearms international agreements, as well as accelerating national review and reform processes needed to modernize the national firearms acts and other related legislation, as well as reduce legal loopholes that can be used by criminals to commit firearms-related offenses.

Different State agencies discussed firearms legal frameworks and shared information and anecdotes on how the laws are being enforced in practice and what law enforcement agents – who are operationalizing the laws – perceive as the challenges and gaps posed by national legislation (e.g. low penalty charges, insufficient search and seizure powers, and lack of criminalization of certain firearms-related activities, among others).

This activity was made possible thanks to the financial support of the United States Government.

For more information on UNLIREC visit (www.unlirec.org.) Please direct all questions or inquiries to: Ms Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer, at (cowl@unlirec.org).

UNLIREC supports Central America in bolstering its criminal investigative techniques

UNLIREC, as part of its efforts to support the Central American Security Strategy, is in the process of developing a training guide to help Central American governments better integrate firearms and ammunition evidence management into criminal investigative processes. For this purpose, UNLIREC convened an expert consultation in collaboration with the Judicial Police of Costa Rica. The regional consultation brought together 20 experts (13 men and 7 women) from Central American States and neighboring countries in San Jose, Costa Rica, from 13-14 February 2014.

Regional experts shared national practices, weaknesses, and jointly identified areas where technical assistance is needed in order to incorporate firearm issues into national evidence management procedures. Additionally, this expert consultation constituted a practical scenario to promote regional cooperation among participating countries. To conclude this regional consultation, a visit was made to the National Forensic Institute where participants had the opportunity to interact with firearms examiners and ballistic experts on the different procedures and testing methodologies conducted on firearms, ammunition and explosives during criminal investigations.

As part of the next phase, UNLIREC will work with Central American governments to pilot the training guide within existing national curricula.

This workshop – made possible thanks to the financial contribution of the Government of Germany – forms part of a larger UNLIREC assistance package aimed at preventing armed violence in Central America through the combat of illicit trafficking in firearms, which supports the efforts made by States to improve public security and enhance their implementation of the UN 2001 PoA on Small Arms.

For more information about UNLIREC, visit its web page [www.unlirec.com]. For any questions, contact Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer, at [cowl@unlirec.org].

Source: UNLIREC

UNLIREC delivers specialized course for legal practitioners on combating impunity in firearms related offenses in Belize

The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) organized in cooperation with the Government of Belize a specialized national course for legal practitioners on techniques for combating impunity in firearms related offenses in Belmopan on 3-6 March 2014.

With the goal of strengthening the operational capabilities of judges, magistrates, prosecutors, criminal investigators and representatives from the National Forensic Science Service, UNLIREC trained 20 legal practitioners on how to combat illicit firearms trafficking through the reduction of impunity and strengthen the coordination, communication and cooperation of all relevant legal operators working in this area.

The course was conducted by international instructors and national experts on firearms and ammunition classification; firearms proliferation and armed violence; international firearms instruments and national regulatory frameworks; inter-institutional and international cooperation; crime scene management and forensic ballistics. With the goal of applying the knowledge acquired, participants concluded the training course with a practical exercise consisting of conducting a preliminary court hearing of illicit firearms trafficking and possession. The practical exercise highlighted how the proper handling of the crime scene, respect for the chain of custody, inter-institutional and international cooperation tools and resources, and a suitable criminal legal framework constitute essential elements to combating impunity in the fight against illicit firearms trafficking.

This training course forms part of an overall sub-regional assistance package UNLIREC offers to Caribbean States since 2010. The assistance package contains activities aimed at improving stockpile management and weapons and ammunition destruction; providing legal assistance; and training security sector officials. This assistance was made possible with the financial support from the United States Government.

As the Regional Centre of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, UNLIREC serves 33 States in the region in assisting them in the development of disarmament policies and the implementation of international disarmament instruments, most notably the UN 2001 Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons.

For more information about UNLIREC, visit its web page [www.unlirec.com]. For any questions, contact Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer, at [cowl@unlirec.org].