The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) carried out its trademark ‘Firearms and Ammunition Evidence Management Course (EMC)’ in San José, Costa Rica from 16-18 October 2019 in coordination with the Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ) of Costa Rica. 29 participants attended this three-day course, including officials from the National Police, Public Ministry, Municipal Police Service, Migration Police, Border Police, Air Vigilance Service, and representatives from the OIJ.

Costa Rica was the host country for the first EMC course in 2015. This second edition incorporated a gender perspective by stressing the gendered impacts of small arms and the link between armed violence and gender-based violence, specifically violence against women. The course provided law enforcement officials and legal operators with the tools and practical guidance to strengthen criminal investigations, specifically related to the proper handling of small arms and ammunition as evidence at investigative sites, as well as the correct application of the chain of custody to prosecute crimes, thus improving the effectiveness of the security sector and justice system.

The EMC course facilitated a space for dialogue and exchange among participants. As a result, both national authorities and representatives of the security and justice sector emphasized the need to foster higher levels of inter-institutional coordination to reduce impunity and to prosecute small arms-related offenses.

This activity forms part of the project entitled Building Momentum for the Regional implementation of A/RES/65/69 on Women, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control, which is implemented thanks to the financial assistance of the Canadian Government.