Rwanda and Uganda are seen as frontrunners to host the East African Region Referral Forensic Centre (RRFC). Both countries have modern forensic centres.
Uganda has intensified lobbying forensic experts from East African member states to support its bid to host the bloc’s referral forensic centre.
Forensic experts led by the officer in charge of peace and security at the EAC Secretariat, Didacus Kaguta have visited Uganda to assess the country’s readiness to host the Regional Referral Forensic Centre.
The team also includes one forensic expert from each EAC member state and two from Britain and Germany.
Forensic science (forensics) is the application of a broad spectrum of sciences to answer questions of interest to a legal system. This may be in relation to a crime or a civil action.
Governments in the region have been spending big amounts of money on forensic tests that are carried out abroad, mostly in South Africa and the United Kingdom.
Also several criminal cases have been thrown out of court due to poor gathering of forensic evidence. Trained forensic personnel are also few and far between.
However, Uganda’s Criminal Investigations Director Grace Akullo earlier this week said the Uganda police force has a modern forensic laboratory that can handle all criminal investigation challenges in the region.
“I am strongly convinced that our forensic department is better than others in the region and we are better placed to host the referral forensic centre. The political will is there to improve it further so that it matches international standards,” she said.
Rwanda is already conducting record checking and fingerprint lifting at Kigali Forensic Lab however; complicated forensic evidences are still flown out of the country for further analysis.
However, Uganda Police say they plan to acquire a fingerprint machine and integrate ICT in investigating cyber crimes. Uganda has only 70 scene-of-crime officers (Socos) who investigate the at least 99,676 criminal cases reported at police stations annually.
The Assessment Group also earlier this month toured Rwanda’s forensic establishments and supporting amenities.
Rwanda’s IGP Emmanuel Gasana noted that several Rwandan Police officers have schooled in forensic sciences both within the country and abroad. Also forensic science and criminology faculties have been introduced at the Police University in Musanze.
The RRFC is a brainchild of the Council of East African Police Chiefs which, among other duties, addresses challenges in investigations, and strengthens forensic services and criminal justice departments.It also aims to ensure that EAC member states have harmonised forensic centres.
Kaguta says when the regional forensic centre is established; it will train forensic practitioners as well as disseminate information to all national forensic labs.
Establishment of RRFC is sponsored by member countries and the German society of international development commonly (GIZ).