Forensic Services

The International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) provides technical assistance and training in many countries around the world in the field of forensics. "Forensics" refers to the application of science to the law. ICITAP's Forensic Services programs support:

  • training and technical assistance to forensic specialists, investigators, and prosecutors in topics including DNA, expert witness development, odontology, pathology, drug analysis, firearms, latent print examinations, physical anthropology, behavioral science, questioned documents, toxicology, forensic nursing, crime scene processing, forensic photography, forensic accounting, and computer evidence
  • professional development and mentoring of forensic laboratory managers
  • improvements in the quality of forensic services and facilities available to the criminal justice community through equipment donations and technical assistance
  • development of quality management systems—including policies and procedures, and technical and training manuals—to help laboratories attain accreditation according to standards set by the International Organization for Standardization

ICITAP's programs in the field of forensics are primarily funded by the State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

Learn more about ICITAP's programs in the forensics field.
View the Forensics Assistance Fact Sheet

Current Programs

ICITAP’s forensic program in Algeria began in 2010, with an assessment of the Algerian Gendarmerie National Institute of Forensic Science and Criminology (INCC). ICITAP’s assistance is intended to assist the INCC in their fight against terrorism and transnational crime. ICITAP’s training focuses on assisting the INCC achieve international accreditation. Further, ICITAP is mentoring scientists in the forensic disciplines of DNA, anthropology, and trace evidence. Future assistance will address investigative support techniques, physical chemistry, electronics, and forensic medicine.

ICITAP has a major impact on enhancing the forensic capabilities of Colombia's law enforcement agencies through a variety of assistance, including the donation of identification systems for DNA, firearms, and fingerprints. These secure, wireless networks enable Colombia's scientists to build databases, exchange information, and compare forensic evidence. In partnership with the Department of Defense, ICITAP is also conducting forensic anthropology "dig schools" for investigators, prosecutors, and forensic professionals. This program is increasing the capacity of forensic laboratories to use DNA evidence to identify victims in mass graves—and to recover and process other evidence from mass graves—that will assist the Colombians in prosecuting members of paramilitary groups who were responsible for mass murders. In another project, ICITAP is training scientists and prosecutors in providing expert witness testimony and presenting demonstrative evidence.

ICITAP’s forensics program in Indonesia began in 2004 with the assessment of the National Police Forensic System’s laboratory in Surabaya. Since then ICITAP has assisted in developing the DNA Laboratory in Surabaya and worked closely with laboratory directors to develop standard operating procedures that meet international standards. ICITAP has also made several equipment donations and provided technical assistance and training to more than 2,000 professionals—including police officers and laboratory staff.

Kenya & Tanzania
In 2011, ICITAP initiated a regional forensics program in East Africa, working in Kenya and Tanzania. The Kenya project will deliver design plans for a state of the art forensic science institute. The Tanzania program focuses on providing training in disciplines such as CSI, questioned documents, drug chemistry, latent prints, and digital evidence, in addition to mentoring in laboratory management.

As part of the Merida Initiative, ICITAP is providing forensic assistance to the Mexican Attorney General’s Office and the National Police forensic laboratories, focusing on helping them obtain international accreditation. Discipline specific training and technical assistance is being provided in DNA, questioned documents, toxicology, crime scene processing, drug analysis, firearms, and latent print examinations.

In 2009, ICITAP conducted an assessment of the Royal Gendarmerie Laboratory and the National Police Laboratory in Morocco. ICITAP will provide training and technical assistance to aid both laboratories’ pursuit of international accreditation.

ICITAP's work supports Ukraine's efforts to achieve international accreditation of its forensics center. This work included bringing Ukrainian scientists to the United States to observe internal audits at accredited forensic laboratories. ICITAP provided advanced training in Ukraine on computer forensics and DNA analysis topics, including procedures for interpreting mixed DNA results. ICITAP also provides training in the current generation of computer forensics, and quality assurance policies and procedures.

ICITAP is working with the Uzbekistan Ministry of Health National Laboratory to address equipment needs, evidence collection and handling, quality assurance, physical security at the laboratory, and technical assistance in toxicology and forensic biology. ICITAP is also working with the Ministry of Justice forensic laboratory to improve quality assurance protocols.

Past Programs

ICITAP assisted Bulgaria's primary forensic laboratory, the Research Institute of Forensic Science and Criminology (RIFSC), in becoming a full member of the European Network of Forensic Sciences Institute. Subsequently, ICITAP installed a Laboratory Information Management System in the RIFSC to track chain of custody of evidence, as required for international accreditation. Through equipment donations, ICITAP helped improve the forensic capabilities at 28 regional laboratories throughout Bulgaria.

Beginning in 2007, ICITAP assisted the Iraq Ministry of Interior in establishing a National Criminal Evidence Laboratory System. It consists of three primary operational laboratories nationwide and a forensics teaching laboratory at the Baghdad Police College. ICITAP provided training in DNA and laboratory management, and worked closely with international partners.

In support of the Women’s Justice and Empowerment Initiative, ICITAP’s provided forensic assistance in Kenya focused on forensic nursing and crime scene investigation.

ICITAP helped authorities build and staff a new forensic laboratory in Priština, Kosovo. By 2006, 40 forensics professionals—including forensic scientists specializing in serology/DNA, drug chemistry, fingerprints, questioned documents, firearms, and quality assurance—were working in the laboratory.

ICITAP provided assistance to the cybercrimes section of the Moldovan Ministry of Interior and assisted in creating a forensic section dedicated to the examination of digital evidence.

ICITAP renovated the public prosecutor’s forensic laboratory to meet international accreditation standards. ICITAP also provided training on evidence collection, examination techniques, proper use of forensic equipment, and effective results reporting. Technical assistance was provided in the areas of ballistics, questioned documents, latent prints, digital evidence, chemistry, and DNA analysis.

ICITAP's technical assistance in Senegal focused on drug identification. ICITAP also provided training on management, safety techniques, security, and quality assurance to professionals in the police forensic laboratory.

ICITAP provided technical assistance and material support to the Ministry of Internal Affairs forensic laboratory—renovating laboratory space; donating forensic equipment; training on quality assurance procedures for narcotics analysis; and upgrading the electronic fingerprint database to enable Tajikistan to share information with the international community. ICITAP also provided technical assistance to the Tajikistan Ministry of Justice forensic laboratory.

ICITAP conducted an assessment of two of Thailand's key forensic laboratories, and provided training in questioned documents, gunshot residue, and explosive residue analysis.

ICITAP's forensic development program in Turkmenistan focused on drug analysis and laboratory management procedures, including quality assurance. ICITAP donated sophisticated forensic equipment to identify drugs, and partnered with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency to provide instruction on the use of the instruments. ICITAP also provided training in crime scene investigations.

ICITAP provided technical assistance and training to Uganda in crime scene forensics, fingerprint enhancement, questioned documents, forensic pathology, and forensic autopsy examinations. ICITAP also worked with Ugandan laboratory managers to develop policies and procedures, quality assurance, and laboratory safety and security protocols.

Updated May 29, 2015