English Translation of Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
Good morning, honorable and distinguished guests of this fourth International Symposium of Forensic Sciences convened virtually from the capital of the United Mexican States.
- Mr. Robert A. McInturff, INL Law Enforcement and Public Safety Programs Officer of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico.
- Ms. Claudia Indira Contreras Córdova, Attorney General of the State of Sonora.
- César Augusto Peniche Espejel, Attorney General of the State of Chihuahua.
- Dr. Rafael Guerra Alvarez, Presiding Magistrate of the National Commission of Superior Courts of Justice of the United Mexican States (CONATRIB).
We are holding this event remotely, for public health reasons, the situation we live in globally demands the utmost care, the pandemic that affects humanity forces us to distance ourselves from the body, but technologies allow us virtual closeness, the continuity of our working life and even in the midst of everything, the discovery of new opportunities.
International cooperation and coordination between Mexico and the United States of policies in favor of forensic sciences and the administration of justice is a dynamic and… transformative process that will undoubtedly leave a mark marked with the contributions of all those present here.
It must be recognized that respect for fundamental rights in our actions allows us to develop human potential and contributes to the development of the rule of law.
The commitment to accreditations and training of a culture of continuous improvement, communication and coordination between system operators also contributes to generating fair, balanced and inclusive policies in our laboratories and work centers that day by day contribute to the administration of justice in our neighboring countries and, as a final result, the possibility of combating transnational crime, the reduction of impunity and the flourishing of security and the economy in both nations.
Their tireless work as Mexican citizens and as interested in justice in Mexico, and our support, as ICITAP and Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) have resulted in a coordination and collaborative work in various activities related to laboratory infrastructure, forensic equipment, the application of cutting-edge technology, training, personnel certification and laboratory accreditation, monitoring, consolidation and dissemination, among other essential areas in this process, today reflect the results, many of them through numerous success stories.
As most of you know, in the first symposium, the objective of linking forensic experts and leaders of the justice sector of the states that make up Mexico was raised, specific issues related to laboratory accreditations and others of national interest were addressed. Derived from the good results and the need to globalize these new contributions, other countries joined with the intention of standardizing criteria. Today Mexico can boast that it is at the forefront and has laboratories in which its procedures are endorsed at the international level. It is undeniable that we work with the quality required by Forensic Sciences and the Accusatory Criminal System. It is largely due to the interest created within these symposia, which has resulted, together with the coordination of efforts, in highlighting the importance for the Prosecutor’s Offices of the value of scientific evidence and a greater channeling of national and international funds for expert services.
Today we begin the fourth international symposium on forensic sciences, and it is necessary to refer as a background to what this sequel to events has been, in which, for three consecutive years, great specialists have participated providing valuable contributions from the different forensic disciplines. Without a doubt, events like these are the ones that enrich the complex, but exciting work carried out by the leaders and experts in the expert services of the Attorney General’s Office and the various State Prosecutor’s Offices and prosecutors’ offices throughout Mexico.
The objective of this symposium is to strengthen the knowledge and capacities of forensic experts in current issues related to the use of new technologies that collaborate with the criminal investigation in the Mexican criminal justice system and thus face the challenges in forensic medical services as the standardization of quality management systems under ISO 17020 and 17025, as well as reinforcing the remote process of accreditation of forensic laboratories and the certification of experts at the national level within the disciplines of ballistics, criminalistics, fingerprinting, questioned documents, genetics, chemistry, and forensic medicine.
A highlight is the increased interest in participating in this international symposium. Every year the international forensic family has shown interest in participating. At the first symposium, we had 125 guests, although it was a national event. It aroused the interest of the international community, so that the following year it was inevitable to add other countries with 227 guests. Likewise, the third event saw the participation of 233 participants. Today, with this wide virtual highway, we are in the possibility of sums to just over 400.
The work to obtain the accreditations of laboratories in Mexico has not been easy, although it seems the opposite. Success is based on adding specialists to the program, distinguished at the national level from each of the priority forensic disciplines with the greatest impact in the country, who have the precise knowledge of the national environment supported by the experience of international consultants and managers. With a high degree of responsibility, hours, days, months and years have been invested to achieve such good results. Among the achievements we can mention, 86 accredited laboratories and six awaiting their certificates, 2,489 public servants with the Expert Witness course, 138 prosecutors, Investigative Police, experts and analysts with the course called “Workshop of Specialization in Competencies for Trial Hearing” (In English “Courtroom Competency Training Program or “ CCT ”).
The participation of ICITAP adds other activities that complement the contributions to the forensic sector. In addition to strengthening and supporting forensic laboratories and experts, it is a priority to provide training that involves the main operators of the accusatory criminal system. Today, ICITAP trains prosecutors, experts, analysts and investigative police together, as already I mentioned, in the Specialization Workshop Course in Competencies for Trial Hearing, with the collaboration of active judges of the Judicial Power, participation that some time ago was unthinkable to be able to develop and impart this as a clear example of the high commitment and involvement of the Mexican authorities in the coordinated programs between the two countries, and a testimony both to the interest of the Mexican Judicial Power and to the national strategy of integrating the ‘key pieces’ of justice to form a truly integrated and strong system in function and integrity.
It only remains for us to thank you in advance for all your valuable contributions, and to invite all of you to continue strengthening the ties of friendship and collaboration that you have shown since the first moment in which the work began in a coordinated manner.
The Fourth International Symposium of Forensic Sciences is in charge of all: contribute with an objective participation, supported by scientific actions within the framework of legality and respect for human rights, in such a way that we adhere to our work to clarify the criminal act, the acquittal is always declared in favor of the innocent, and in the face of society the punitive sanction to those who really deserve it is a daily reality where our contribution is useful from each of our functions for these great challenges.
I am sure that the achievements that have been made in terms of accreditation and forensic training will have a positive impact on the local and international law enforcement. The experience gained will serve as a reference for other countries.
Let this fourth symposium be an event with the success that has characterized the previous ones that serves to strengthen the ties of friendship and collaboration between countries that contribute new knowledge that add experiences that homologate criteria that show camaraderie that highlights hospitality that characterizes Mexico that it is an event to unite even more the international forensic family but above all, that it is for the strengthening of justice, for the benefit of our peoples.