The Meeting Report of Protection Women and Standardized Forensic Examination Advocacy Group Work with the Acting director of Staff College
May 7, 2020
The Afghanistan Forensic Science Organization with co-operation of the Protection Women and Standardized Forensic Examination Advocacy Group (PWSFEAG) conducted an online meeting with the Acting Director of Staff College regarding updated forensic science teaching material curriculum on Thursday, May 7, 2020.
The meeting was conducted with the objective of creating joint co-operation and collaboration between the Staff College and PWSFEAG regarding the implantation of the updated forensic science curriculum at Staff College in order to prevent and banning classic and discriminatory examinations. 9 people including 4 males and 5 females participated in the meeting as representative of the (PWSFEAG).
Explaining the issues of discussion:
The meeting officially started with a welcoming speech of Mohammad Ashraf Bakhteyari, the executive director of Afghanistan Forensic Science Organization (AFSO) and then the participants introduced each other. Then, Mr. Bakhteyari explained the purpose and objective of the meeting and introduced the Group Work with its vision and mission. He said that the Protection Women and Standardized Forensic Examination Advocacy Group Work (PWSFEAGW) has made from 20 national and international organizations. At first the group established in Kabul in 2016 and then the representative of the group expanded in other provinces including Balkh, Herat, Qandahar, Bamyan and Badakhshan provinces. On the one hand, the group aims to provide serious support to women who are considered vulnerable; On the other hand, it is trying to create and promote standardized and scientific examinations in Afghanistan. Since the establishment of this group, it has launched large-scale capacity building, raising awareness and advocacy programs at the national and international levels, and fortunately, it has had tangible results.
Mr. Bakhteyari added that due to the long wars in Afghanistan, there was less opportunity to work on scientific research and the update of forensic medicine. In the field of forensic medicine, it has not been done as it should be, and the resources that exist in this field have been taken mostly from the 40’s and 50’s, which is very far from modern science. Although the science is constantly developing, in Afghanistan, the books of forensic medicine with outdated sources have failed to meet the needs of police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, and forensic doctors in criminal proceedings. Meanwhile, four types of unscientific and non-standard examinations are still performing in Afghanistan’s forensic medicine. These unscientific and non-standard examinations are very harmful to all Afghan citizens, especially women, both physically and mentally, and on the other hand, they mislead the country’s judiciary. That is why the AFSO in collaboration with the PWSFEAGW, has launched a number of programs to identify and address these problems. Mr. Bakhteyari discussed in detail these four examinations, which include the hymen test, anal examination, sperm examination without a DNA machine, and age determination.
Bakhteyari added: “In cooperation with the Group Work, AFSO has advocated these issues with the government authorities, including President, First Lady, Second Vice President, Minister of Public Health, Attorney General, judges, officials from the Ministry of Higher Education and public and private universities. As a result of these advocacies, the Minister of Public Health issued a letter, stressed that doctors should not perform these examinations. The Attorney General’s Office also warned prosecutors that no one is allowed to refer women to forensic medicine for these examinations. The Supreme Council of the Supreme Court also issued a letter, stressed that no one has the right to examine a woman without the court’s permission and the consent of herself. On the other hand, these advocacies led to the criminalization of these examinations in Article 460 of the Penal Code. In addition, the educational materials of forensic medicine were updated, and now our effort is to teach this updated book of forensic medicine in public and private universities and academic centers. The book is currently being translated into Pashto, and the Dari version is in publishing. So our expectation from you as the head of the Staff College is that this updated book of forensic medicine should be taught the College so that police officers can get acquainted with the new materials of forensic medicine”.
After Bakhteyari’s speech, Mr. Saber Ansandost, the acting head of the Staff College, expressed his satisfaction with these issues, and said that he welcomed the creation of such a group; because this group has solved many cases and problems that caused injustice and identified the gaps and shortcomings in this area that exist. He stated that the words and topics that Mr. Bakhteyari had spoken about were completely new and valuable to him. According to him, one of the things that have caused a crisis in human society is injustice, especially criminal injustice; because hundreds of people may have been convicted and victimized by such examinations without any crime. He added that the main problem in Afghanistan is more technical because when the laws are enacting and approving, the involved technical institutions will not be informed about its implementation.
Mr. Ansandost continued that he is a staunch opponent of this technical process because he has noticed that many laws are being amended and updated in the police field; but unfortunately, the police are not aware of the amendment and approval of these laws, while the police are implementing the laws. Many times the police suffer from non-compliance with the rules and there are lots of problems in this area.
Mr. Bakhteyari asked Mr. Ansandost to provide detailed information about the Staff College. Mr. Ansandost stated that the Staff College is a strategic institution for police education; this institution is created according to international rules and is equivalent to European and Western countries. The responsibilities of the College are building capacity for the Afghan police in the level of bachelor’s and master’s degree. Actually, the College’s program is a master’s degree in criminal law and criminology, which is currently being taught online. The bachelor’s degree of the College is for the government employees, and legal, discovery, and forensic medicine fields are also being taught at the college.
Ms. Najla Raheel, deputy head of the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association and a member of the Group Work, initially expressed satisfaction with the online meeting and said: “I am very happy to have been introduced to Mr. Ansandost and the detailed speech of him about the personnel and the progress of the police were really hopeful for me.” She said that the Association had received a letter from the Police Academy, asking to provide legal training courses and lawyer’s licenses for their graduated students.
Then, the issue was included in the agenda of the executive meeting of the Afghan Bar Association, and the members of the meeting agreed to provide lawyer’s license for those who do not have any duty and also agreed to provide legal courses for the police, because the police are the basis in criminal and judicial law. At the end, she requested from Mr. Ansandost to cooperate with the Group Work regarding the women who are facing problems.
In response to Ms. Raheel, Mr. Ansandost said that the police have a special role to play in all countries of the world; the police play an important role in enforcing orders and freedom for citizens, preventing crimes and enforcing laws. But in Afghanistan, the police have not been given a role in criminal proceedings. He stated that he will be ready to cooperate with the Group Work in any field.
Homira Rasooli, head of the Women’s organization for Justice, welcomed Mr. Ansandost’s speech and expressed her happiness and gratitude for announcing his cooperation. She expressed her desire that the Afghan police progress to the educated and wise people in the near future so that they can cooperate with us in enforcing the rule of law.
At the end, it was decided that the AFSO Organization would send the updated books of forensic medicine to the Staff College after translation and printing. Mr Ansandost also promised that the updated forensic medicine materials would be taught at Staff College. It has been decided that many of the other books and scientific resources which are available at AFSO will be shared with the College so that they can use from the better resources. Also, it was emphasized that many educational programs and trainings should be held for the professors and students of the Staff College and the College will welcome it. Mr. Ansandost emphasized the need for co-operation between the Staff College and the Group Work, and expressed his hope that the Group Work and AFSO would present new methods of forensic medicine examinations for the Staff College so that they can use the new standard ways to ensure justice.