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].