The role of scientific and forensic evidence in criminal trial proceeding with a special view at murder, torture and violence against women
January 6–8, 2020
The Afghanistan Forensic Science Organization (AFSO) was conducted training regarding forensic evidence and its role in criminal trials at primary, secondary and advanced levels for defense lawyers. As part of the training agenda, the trainers focused on the role of scientific and forensic evidence in criminal trials proceeding with a special view at murder, torture, and violence against women. The training was held in Herat Province from 6 to 8 January 2020. The main objective of conducting such training was capacity building of defense lawyers, legal aids and judges to persuade in trail to provide scientific and legal support to their clients. In this training, 24 people have participated which 10 males and 14 females.
It was a three full days training which was started from 08:30 AM and continued up to 03:30 PM at Provincial Conference Hall of Independent Bar Association in Herat. On the first day of training, all the participants signed the attendance sheet and received packages of stationary containing training manual, book, notebook, pen, and agenda. The trainer and co-trainer were distributed the pre-assessment forms to assess the participants’ knowledge, ideas and information on the role of scientific and forensic evidence in criminal trial procedures with special consideration at murder, torture, and violence against women which is reflected in the training manual.
The training started by recitation of the Holy Quran by one of the participants and then primary and vital information about Afghanistan Forensic Science Organization (AFSO) mission, activities and its projects delivered by Dr. Nader Wardak Coordinator and Forensic trainer of AFSO.
The trainer requested the participants to share their best and worst habit or attitude. This game was played for the purpose of ice- breaking- and finding commonality among participants. The trainer with support of participants prepared the training’s rules and regulations and therefore, all the participants obliged to obey the below role during three days of training.
Both trainer and co-trainer have been discussed in details about definition of forensic science, familiarity with scientific and forensic evidences, definition of evidence, type of evidence, definition of evidence based on testimony, definition of scientific and forensic evidence, biological evidence such as blood, hair, sperm, soil and mud, rock and sand, digital evidence such as mobile message, email and messenger and computer files, ballistic evidence such as cold weapons, warm weapons and explosives and miscellaneous, herbal and tissue evidence such as natural and synthetic textiles, stem, sign and indication evidences such as hand and foot badge, lips and teeth signs chemicals, poisonous substances, internal and home resources, agricultural and gardening resources, industrial resources, business resource, drug and narcotic resource, drink and food resources, miscellaneous resources, narcotic resource, types of narcotics, types of scientific and forensic evidences such as written document, ID card, wise people, biometric, forensic photography, the importance of forensic photography, digital photography techniques, forensic medicine sketching, goal of forensic medicine sketching and diagram, sketching components, forensic medicine, definition of forensic medicine, the importance and necessity of forensic medicine, death event, definition of death, types of death, definition of natural death, accidental killing, definition of suicide, definition of deliberate killing, definition of quasi-intentional/involuntary killing, manslaughter killing/error death, differentiation of suicide from deliberate killing, indications of deliberate murder, introducing causes and reasons of death, death cause of cold weapon, death cause of warm weapon, characteristic of injuries, the origin of the injuries, asphyxiation, signs and symptoms of asphyxiation, type of asphyxiation, chemical, drainage or poison, fire, and electric shock, abortion from forensic perspective, and finally definition of rape and the pillars of rape.
The participants were divided into four working groups to sketch and make a diagram on violence against women which was real cases such as the victim’s body who do not like to mark and take a photo from her body. The trainer mentioned to use Istanbul protocol information that he taught them how to check, mark, photograph, collect evidence and method of documentation as well. Each group presented their work and had times to discuss violence against women cases and how to sketch a victim’s body.
The second day of the workshop started with a brief welcome and fresh greeting, followed by signing attendance sheet, energetic warm-up and feel-check followed by a recap and assessment of learning from the previous day. Before started the second presentation, the trainer talked about violence against women such as virginity testing in our community by forensic doctors and the end of his speech he played the banning hymen and virginity testing video for more information about virginity examination and its psychological and social impact on women. Both Mr. Bakhteyari and Mr. Wardak have been taught to the participants the usage of digital camera in judicial cases, X-ray, CT-Scan, MRI, laboratory photography, Sketching, the goal of sketching/diagram, component of sketching, living people such as refugees, migrants, lost people, resolving conflict, victims, injured people, dead people, unknowing body, in good condition, fragment, skeletal, firearms, DNA, function of DNA, analysis of DNA, limitation of forensic science such as virginity examination and anal testing, seven reasons that virginity testing has no scientific basis, alternatives to virginity examination, methods of proving adultery, why anal testing have no scientific basis, the conditions of anal testing, methods of anal testing, reasons that anal testing has no scientific basis, age determination has not scientific basis, age determination conditions, type of age determination, methods of age determination, the reason for baseless determination of chronological and timely age. age determination solutions, DNA testing without DNA machine, challenges and solutions, another scientific testing, psychological forensic, functions of forensic medicine in civil cases, functions of forensic medicine in criminal cases and the role of psychological forensic medicine in the criminal trial proceeding.
The third day of the training started with a brief welcome and fresh greeting, followed by signing attendance sheet, energetic warm-up and fell-check followed by a recap and assessment of learning from the previous day. It became evident that the previous day offered significant learning to the participants and most miss-understanding based on the second day of training material was solved with some real case explanation and examples. And then the trainer taught issues such as investigation procedure in murder cases, crime scene blockage, crime scene investigation, identify and mark evidence, crime scene photography techniques, sketching and measuring, GPS, documentation of physical violence and torture, interviewing, forensic medicine evolutions such as getting a health background, more information resources, psychical examination, other diagnostic examinations, providing standard photos, method of documenting torture and psychological violence, basic principles of documentation, the dress and the treat of the victim, form, and content of history, signs, and effects of psychological violence, other signs and effect of psychological violence, lawyer measures, and doctors, documentation of torture and sexual violence such as photography, sampling, gathering and analyzing of evidence, other examinations, report preparation, report structure, continent of report, effectiveness of persuading judges, effectiveness of the cause of judgment, effect on persuading parties to the case and effectiveness in support of the victims.
The participants were divided into five working groups to work on real cases of violence against women; meanwhile, the trainer determined a particular rule for each person and group. Before the groups started their working, the trainer taught the investigation of crime scene practically and he showed how to check, mark, photograph, and sketch the crime scene as well as collect evidence and the method of documentation to the participants as well. The participants practically used the training tools and equipment which were prepared by AFSO’s trainer. The tools were such as photo markers, scales for measuring and diagrams, digital camera and measuring meters in small and large sizes. After an investigation of the crime scene, the participants did their working group and the representatives of working groups presented the result for the whole.
Conclusion and Recommendations:
The participants had two general suggestions as following these:
- Kindly AFSO conducted this professional training for prosecutors, judges, police and forensic doctors.
- The AFSO should invite more participants to the training and make more time as well.
The end finally, the training was finished. The trainer distributed the post-test assessment and then congratulated the participants by distributing their certificates.