Regional forensic experts have convened in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, to consider modalities of bringing into operation the East African Community's (EAC) Referral Forensic Centre.
According to EAC Deputy Secretary General in Charge of Political Federation Dr Julius Rotich, the three-day meeting would chart out the way forward for the regional facility since it was approved by the EAC Inter-State Security Council last August in Kigali, Rwanda.
"They will be looking at the structures and funding, among others, to kick-start the regional facility,’’ he said. The centre’s seat was unanimously approved by the partner states to be Kampala.
Forensic science is the practical application of science to legal matters. In criminal law, forensic science can help prove the guilt or innocence of a defendant. In civil actions, forensic science can help resolve a broad spectrum of legal issues through the identification, analysis and evaluation of physical evidence.
Addressing the first technical meeting, the EAC Deputy Secretary General underscored the importance of peace and security in the region for mutual development.
"We are taking the issues of peace and security in the region very seriously and I urge partner states to fully support the EAC established RFRC,’’ he said, adding that the importance of the regional forensic services becomes even more critical in the advent of regional integration which has now moved to the second stage of the Common Market where there will be free movement of labour, capital, goods and services.
Dr Rotich told the delegates that the task ahead of them was pioneering nature and to provide a precedent to be emulated in the identification, establishment and operationalization of other centres of excellence in policing disciplines for the benefit of East Africans.
Leni Mugalu of Uganda, chairman of the meeting, wanted partner states to ensure success of the RFRC.
"Let’s all work to make this a reality for our common peace and stability," he said.
EAC peace and security officer Didacus Kaguta told the East African News Agency (EANA) on the sidelines of the meeting that the RFRC would provide standards and quality control, expertise, training, and research.
The centre would complement national capabilities but have regional responsibilities. It will not compromise national capabilities in the provision of forensic services.