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09 noviembre 2018

INTERPOL holds simulation exercise for war crimes investigators

LYON, France – INTERPOL has given war crimes investigators the opportunity to hone their skills in real-life scenarios as part of a training course.

The simulation exercise was part of a week-long (5 – 9 November) training on genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity investigations at INTERPOL’s headquarters in France.

The course, the sixth such training organized by INTERPOL, provided 17 law enforcement officers from 14 countries with the fundamental skills they need to investigate these serious international crimes.

World-leading experts in the investigation of war crimes from the International Criminal Court shared their expertise with participants, briefing them on the legal elements of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, including sexual and gender-based violence in armed conflict.

“We continue to see today the lasting and destabilizing effect genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity have on communities and nations,” said Stanislas Talontsi, Lawyer at the International Criminal Court. “Effective investigations ensure war criminals can be brought to justice. This is extremely important in the international community’s fight against these crimes.”

The training also enhanced participants’ knowledge of specialized investigative techniques like forensics, interview skills, witness protection measures and the recognition of armed groups and military equipment.

The participants were taken out of the classroom on the fourth day of the course to apply their knowledge to real-life scenarios.

Fake war crime scenes including a detention centre, execution area and mass grave were set up with the assistance of the French Forensic Police, and participants were required to investigate them and collect evidence using techniques learnt during the training.

“War crimes require very specific and specialized investigations,” said Ioannis Kokkinis, Assistant Director of INTERPOL’s Fugitive Investigative Support unit. “After learning from some of the world’s most experienced investigators, participants leave here with an enhanced ability to support war crimes investigations - not only for the good of their own country, but for the good of humanity.”

The course prepared officers for possible collaboration with peacekeeping forces that may be deployed in different countries as well as the integration of national investigations with those carried out by international courts and tribunals.

This week’s training and simulation exercise coincided with the publication of a UN report that says more than 200 mass graves containing thousands of bodies have been found in areas in Iraq once controlled by ISIL. The sites, notes the report, could contain forensic evidence critical to identifying victims and helping prosecutors build cases for war crimes, crimes against humanity and possibly genocide.

The training programme was run as part of Project BASIC (Broadening Analysis on Serious International Crimes) in which INTERPOL works with national authorities and international partners to locate and arrest fugitives wanted for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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