Learn to Document War Crimes and Atrocities

We are now accepting applications for the PHR International Forensic Program's spring training program in Crime Scene and Evidence Documentation, which will be held from April 26-30, 2010?in Tallahassee, Florida. The course is led each spring by IFP Director Stefan Schmitt, who?has been providing forensic expertise to human rights investigations including work in Guatemala, Iraq, Bosnia, Rwanda, Liberia and Afghanistan.Over five days, students? attend lectures and engage in practical training, including the documentation of mock crime scenes. They? learn the essentials of digital forensic photography, basic sketching techniques and note taking. There is also a section on the photo documentation of evidence of alleged torture and abuse. Those who successfully complete the program will be qualified to document evidence of human rights violations in a manner which will be admissible in court.

There are many small things that make up an effective investigation and I think it’s very easy for the layman to miss out on some of the steps. This course fills in all of those small pieces, which together, makes an effective investigation.(James Welsh, Amnesty International, UK)

For 22 years, PHR has been at the forefront of using forensic science in the investigation of human rights violations. Many human rights cases hinge on the quality and custody of the first photography, sketches and notes. Each year, the International Forensic Program at PHR offers two courses designed to share knowledge with human rights field workers.These courses are designed for anyone who might be a first responder to a human rights violation or may need to evaluate the quality of documentation in human rights cases. Past participants have included human rights field investigators, NGO workers, UN officers, ICC investigators, doctors, nurses, journalists and attorneys.Our fall course, Forensic Laboratory and Medical Examiner Office Operations, will be held in Fort Worth, Texas from October 18-30, 2010. The objective of this course is to develop a working knowledge of available forensic services and reporting, and an understanding of the necessary quality control measures in producing court usable evidence. Alumni of this course will gain an understanding of commonly available forensic laboratory services and the forensic standards required in order to assess the collection, analysis, and reporting of evidence.More information on the training programs offered by the IFP is available on the courses homepage. In addition to our annual courses, the International Forensic Program can offer customized training programs in forensic services and documentation. Contact Lindsay Welch, Forensic Coordinator, for more information – lwelch [at] phrusa [dot] org.

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