Forensic Interagency Cooperation

From March 11-12, the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent supported a training course for users of forensic evidence. The workshop was designed and delivered by a joint interagency group of forensic experts from Uzbekistan and included a wide variety of forensic topics. The event was attended by investigators, defense attorneys, prosecutors, and judges from Tashkent and the Tashkent region.

In an impressive display of cooperation, twelve forensic experts from the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Interior, and the Ministry of Health of Uzbekistan gave presentations covering forensic disciplines and subjects including: biological evidence, DNA, fingerprints, face and handwriting recognition, vehicle examination, and toxicology.

people talking
Ms. Anya Brunson (right), Second Secretary of the U.S. Embassy in Uzbekistan, and Mr. Uchkun Uzakov (left), Head of the National Center of Forensic Expertise named after Suleymanova of the Ministry of Justice. (U.S. Embassy photo)

Participants had a rare chance to meet with leading forensic experts and ask questions related to specific forensic subjects and to hear opinions about current capabilities and scientific limitations.

This initiative was born through training courses that the Main Bureau of Forensic Medical Examination of the Ministry of Health (FME) conducted in 2013. Experts from the FME visited Samarkand, Nukus, Andijan, Termez, and Bukhara and gave interactive lectures to investigators, judges, and defense attorneys. Participants in each region noted the usefulness of the workshops and recommended creating an expanded version including all forensic topics.

The Embassy, using funds from the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, intends to continue to support forensic development in Uzbekistan.

The goal of the forensics project is to develop the capacity of forensic labs, to expand forensic capabilities, and to increase reliance on science-based forensic evidence.

group presentation
Ms. Anya Brunson making an opening remarks during INL forensic workshop. (U.S. Embassy photo)