The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in cooperation with the National School for the Public Ministry of the Dominican Republic, delivered a specialized course for legal operators on techniques for combating impunity in illicit firearms trafficking cases. This four-day intense course was carried out in Dominican Republic’s capital from 16-19 September 2013.

With the goal of strengthening the operational capabilities of judges, prosecutors, investigative police and representatives from the National Institute of Forensic Science, UNLIREC trained 25 legal operators 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 to deliver course material on the definition and classification of firearms, munitions and explosives; measures to reduce armed violence; international instruments and national regulatory frameworks; inter-institutional and international cooperation; and handling of the crime scene, as well as forensic ballistics. With the goal of applying the knowledge acquired, the participants concluded the training course with a practical exercise consisting of processing a mock case of illicit firearms trafficking. The practical exercise highlighted how the efficient handling of a 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 trafficking.

This course forms part of an overall sub-regional assistance package that UNLIREC offers to Caribbean States, which initiated in the Dominican Republic in 2010. The assistance package contains activities aimed at improving stockpile management and weapons and ammunition destruction; providing legal assistance; and training security sector representatives. This assistance is made possible thanks to the generous contribution 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 ( For enquiries, please contact Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer (