On 9 of March, Six staff members of the Ministry of Justice concluded a study trip to the Netherlands to study the existing Dutch Accreditation System to professionalize forensic experts.
During the four-day trip for the members of the working group on the Accreditation of Forensic Experts who were accompanied by three EUPOL COPPS advisers, the team visited a number of administrations, starting with The Netherlands Register of Forensic Experts (NRGD) in Utrecht, where all Forensic Experts file their documents to be recognized and accredited as an expert in which the assessment takes place and after having their name registered as a forensic expert and where police, prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges can request for independent scientific investigations in a criminal case. EUPOL COPPS advisers believe that this is the way a Palestinian accreditation system should work in the future as well.
According to Palestinian law a roster of forensic experts must be formed from which prosecutors and judges can select experts to investigate and report or testify in court of their scientific findings in a criminal case, as autopsies, DNA examinations, drugs and toxicology tests, handwriting, ballistics, etc.
Except for Forensic psychiatrists and psychologists, most of the forensic expert work at the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI), which the delegation visited as well. They have their own quality system to keep their expertise on the highest scientific level to deal with new developments in criminology and technique. Scientist in the needed field of expertise are recruited as forensic experts to work at the NFI. After assessment the experts follow an 2-4 internal training to become a reporting expert who can file reports to the prosecution and courts and can be summoned to court.
A visit to the Ministry of Security and Justice brought the knowledge to the delegation how the ministry stands in the middle of financing, legislation drafting and supervising the accreditation process. The structure of the Ministry of Justice and the structure of Public Prosecution were explained to the delegation in regards to the international networks of forensic science and the accreditation of forensic experts.
The visit would contribute in improving the quality of the forensic expertise in the occupied Palestinian territories. Many thanks and gifts were exchanged to express the appreciation of the hospitality given to the delegation by the Dutch.