ICC: The Scientific Advisory Board of the Office of the Prosecutor holds its 4th annual meeting and celebrates the progress made 10 Jul 2017

The Scientific Advisory Board of the Office of the Prosecutor holds its 4th annual meeting and celebrates the progress made

ICC-OTP-20170706-PR1319

Deputy Prosecutor, Mr James Stewart with the members of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Office
Deputy Prosecutor, Mr James Stewart with the members of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Office

The Hague – On 22 and 23 June 2017, the Scientific Advisory Board (the "Board") of the Office of the Prosecutor (the "Office") of the International Criminal Court ("ICC" or the "Court") held its 4th annual meeting at the seat of the Court. 

The Board, established in 2014, provides recommendations to the ICC Prosecutor on the most recent developments in new and emerging technologies and scientific methods and procedures that can reinforce the capabilities of the Office in the collection, management and analysis of scientific evidence relating to the investigation and prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.  Adapting the Office's investigative and prosecutorial capabilities and networks to the rapidly changing scientific and technological environment in which it operates is a strategic goal set by the Prosecutor for the Office.

In opening this year's meeting, Deputy Prosecutor, Mr James Stewart expressed, on behalf of the Prosecutor, his appreciation to the Board members for their commitment.  "The ICC is unique as the only permanent international criminal court, and in the considerable challenges it faces.  The contribution of the Board is crucial to the work of the Office in honing scientific standards governing operations and to the Office's duty to guaranteeing that the evidence presented to the Court's judges is credible and reliable," said the Deputy Prosecutor.

After presentation of the report of the Executive Secretary, Dr Eric Baccard, Head of the Forensic Science Section of the Office, the Chair of the Board, Professor Duarte Nuno Pessoa Vieira congratulated the Office in organising the meeting. "I am grateful to the Office for organising these annual meetings.  We will continue to promote the work already done through our respective organisations and networks and hope to publish these procedures in international scientific journals in the future."

To date, the Board has reviewed and certified five Standard Operating Procedures ("SOP") of the Office relating to, amongst others, human remains recovery, autopsies, forensic clinical examinations, as well as crime scene examination. During this year's meeting, two additional procedures were reviewed by the Board, namely the handling of medical information and the use of remote sensing evidence.  Another four SOPs are currently being examined by the Board. 

The meeting also offered the opportunity for the Board to receive an informative presentation on the role of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons ("OPCW") by its Chairperson, Mr Christopher M. Timperley.

In his closing remarks, the Director of the Investigations Division of the Office, Mr Michel de Smedt thanked the Board for the work already done, highlighting the importance of scientific evidence and the increase of the forensic workload. "It is the Office's hope that the high standards it is implementing in these areas will be emulated, as necessary and deemed useful, by other law enforcement bodies.  To this end, the Office will be exploring ways to find synergies and share experiences with relevant jurisdictions," added Mr de Smedt.

18 organisations were represented in the 4th meeting of the Board:

  • Academia Ibero-americana de Criminalística y Estudios Forenses
  • African Society of Forensic Medicine
  • Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society
  • European Council of Legal Medicine
  • European Network of Forensic Science Institutes
  • Ibero-american Network of Forensic Medicine and Forensic Science Institutions
  • International Association of Forensic Sciences
  • EUROPOL / European Cybercrime Centre
  • International Academy of Legal Medicine
  • International Forensic Strategy Alliance
  • INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation
  • INTERPOL International Forensic Science Managers Symposium
  • Indo-Pacific Association of Law, Medicine and Science
  • New Mediterranean Academy of Forensic Sciences
  • Arab Union of Forensics and Toxicology
  • Southern Africa Regional Forensic Science Network
  • United Nations Institute for Training and Research UNITAR/UNOSAT
  • World Association for Medical Law

The Chairperson of the OPCW Scientific Advisory Board attended the 2 days meeting as observer.

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