The International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) has its origins in Latin America. In 1986, ICITAP was created with funding from the U.S. State Department to build capacity to prosecute key human rights cases in El Salvador and to enhance the criminal investigative capacity of police forces in Latin America. Since then, ICITAP has delivered training in every country in Central America, more than half of the countries in South America, and nearly all of the Caribbean.
Today, ICITAP’s Latin America and Caribbean programs focus on criminal justice reform, anticorruption, forensic science, human rights, trafficking in persons, transnational crime, and advanced investigative skills. ICITAP is a key partner in major U.S. assistance efforts in the region—Plan Colombia and the Merida Initiative in Mexico—funded by the State Department‘s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.
Learn more about ICITAP's programs in this region (*indicates field office):
Founded in 1991, Colombia is ICITAP's longest-standing program. Beginning in 2002, ICITAP greatly expanded its assistance through the Justice Department's Plan Colombia Justice Sector Reform Program (JSRP)—a strong collaboration among numerous Department entities. In particular, ICITAP and the Office of Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) have helped Colombia transition to an adversarial system of justice and significantly reduce crime and violence. ICITAP has also assisted with the identification of victims and recovery of evidence from mass graves to expedite the prosecution of members of paramilitary groups who were responsible for mass murders, and worked to significantly increase crime scene processing and forensic laboratory capacity.
Under the Partnership for Growth Program, a presidential initiative to support economic development, ICITAP is assisting the government of El Salvador to combat security matters that negatively impact its economic growth. In coordination with OPDAT, ICITAP will help establish and develop prosecutor/investigators task forces to combat crimes against public transit and crimes against businesses. ICITAP will also help establish secure specialized courts to adjudicate the cases developed and presented by the task forces.
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. ICITAP will also work with the government of Mexico to establish professional standards for personnel development and training.
From 2009-2012, ICITAP worked with the Paraguay National Police to enhance professional development, improve forensic laboratory capabilities, and augment the 911 communications system. ICITAP helped create a police selection manual and developed curriculum at the police academy. ICITAP also provided technical assistance to the internal affairs unit and internal audit office.
From 2008 to 2011, ICITAP worked on a program to combat corruption in the Peruvian National Police. ICITAP assisted the police to review and revise administrative practices, improve case management, develop public information and outreach strategies, and design specialized investigative units.