Uganda has been selected to host the EAC regional forensic referral centre (RFRC) as part of on going efforts to revolutionize the fight against crime in the region by providing scientific information to investigators and to courts.
Uganda was chosen after partner States’ chiefs of Police unanimously agreed on Kampala as the most suitable location for the RFRC where forensic science (the practical application of science to matters of the law) will be carried out.
In criminal law, forensics can help prove the guilt or innocence of the defendant and in civil actions it can help resolve a broad spectrum of legal issues through the identification, analysis and evaluation of physical evidence.
The Police Chiefs expressed their support after considering a report from an EAC fact-finding mission, which visited all five Partner States in March this year. The Assessment Mission was conducted by an independent forensics consultant from the United Kingdom who worked with forensics experts from the Partner States together with technical staff from the EAC Secretariat.
Information was gathered through physical site inspections and meetings coupled with face-to-face interviews with individuals who had a stake in the forensic facilities, the forensics staff and the Chief Government Chemists within the Partner States.
The Centre will have regional responsibilities but will not compromise national capabilities in the provision of forensic services. Nonetheless, East Africans hope for improved security as the regional integration process deepens.
“The expectation is that the threat of terrorism, trafficking of persons and narcotics as well as other transnational security threats will be better managed…” said Dr. Sezibera East African Community’s secretary general.
He praised the EAC Partner States Police chiefs for what he referred to as, ‘taking concrete steps to deter criminal activities in the region’ and pledged that his office will continue to support their endeavors.
Sezibera made the remarks, when opening the ministerial session of the Sectoral Council on Inter-State Security meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, held on Monday where they underscored, the importance of regional peace and security.
The EAC has already initiated the harmonization process of peace and security initiatives, common policing standards, joint investigation, exchange of information and mutual legal assistance in the Partner States, among others.
Dr. Sezibera urged Partner States to reduce dependence on the various ‘Development Partners’ to fund regional security programmes and revealed that efforts were underway to create a Directorate of Peace and Security which will help to expedite peace and security issues in the EAC Partner States.
Article 124 of the EAC Treaty recognizes the need for peace and security within the Partner States and this is further elaborated through the Strategy for Regional Peace and Security adopted by the 13th Council of Ministers meeting. In an effort to formulate measures to combat terrorism, Goal 10 of the Regional Strategy for Peace and Security provides for enhancement of forensic services with establishment of an RFRC.