UN issues new forensic guidelines to assist countries deal with drug-facilitated crimes

Mr Yury Fedotov - UNODC Boss

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) February 1, 2012 issued new forensic guidelines that will enable member states to effectively deal with drug-facilitated crimes as well as sexual assault.

The manual is known as the Guidelines for the Forensic Analysis of Drugs Facilitating Sexual Assault and Other Criminal Acts.

“These guidelines address forensic related issues that arise from the time a victim reports a crime to law enforcement; the process of proper and timely evidence collection by health care professionals; to the laboratory analysis by forensic scientists in order to produce reliable and accurate results for admissible evidence in court,” said the UN agency.

The guidelines, it said, will enhance the analytical capabilities of laboratories in different countries and raise awareness of the required synergies between forensic laboratories, investigation personnel and medical professionals in addressing drug-facilitated crime.

According to the UNODC, there has been a significant increase in reports of drug-facilitated crime worldwide but “unfortunately the nature and extent of the problem is not well established due to scarcity of accurate data.”

“Quite often, these crimes go unpunished because of lack of forensic evidence to convict the perpetrators as a result of poor, and often late collection and analysis of vital evidence such as urine, blood or hair samples,” said Justice Tettey, Chief of Laboratory and Scientific Section at the UNODC.

The guidelines were developed in response to Resolution 53/7 adopted by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in 2010.

By Ekow Quandzie

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