Forensic lab a step forward

The government will launch a Rwf6 billion forensics laboratory fully equipped with all the modern crime lab technology. The country’s forensics experts currently analyse physical evidence from the small Kigali Forensics Laboratory.

The government will launch a Rwf6 billion forensics laboratory fully equipped with all the modern crime lab technology. The country’s forensics experts currently analyse physical evidence from the small Kigali Forensics Laboratory. This lab limits activities to finger prints and documents, among other few, leaving the crucial details of forensics to be done from outside the country.

Such has been the inconvenience to crime handling. But with this new facility, it is not just the cost of solving crime that will significantly go down, but the effectiveness and timeliness of the process will be greatly enhanced.

Forensic science is a discipline that applies scientific analysis to the justice system, often to help prove the events of a crime, by analysing and interpreting evidence found at the crime scene. The evidence can include blood, saliva, fibres, tire tracks, drugs, alcohol, paint chips and firearm residue (cartridges) and others.

The modern facility, expected to be launched early next year, will ensure that when there is a murder, suspicious fire or hit-and-run accident, forensic scientists will join Police in ensuring efficient data is provided to courts of law.

With a little ingenuity and some high-tech equipment, forensic scientists can help law enforcement catch even the wiliest perpetrators. Gone will be the days when people took DNA samples across the borders to analyse and ascertain paternity in case of feuds.

It should be the pride of the nation that the legal and Police systems will be able to, for example, effectively determine that a paint chip found on a hit-and-run accident victim came off a `99 Rav4, a fibre found at a murder scene belonged to an Armani jacket or a bullet was fired from a Glock pistol.

This is something the country can wait for with bated breath as it will duly complement testimonies of witnesses, currently the most common evidence in courts of law in the country. Ceiling the gap in scientific evidence in crime handling has been long overdue.

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