In This Issue:
Combating Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Crimes and Child Sexual Exploitation in Liberia
JSSL Advisor Cecilia Bratten has been instrumental in the 2008 creation of the Ministry of Justice’s Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Unit, and has been a strong advocate in securing international funding and technical assistance. This specialized unit uses a victim-centered, team approach in which prosecutors work in partnership with police, medical personnel, and victim service providers to build strong cases and minimize further trauma to the victims. In addition, Bratten provides on-going mentoring and training to the Unit and its counterparts, including the Liberian National Police’s Women and Children Protection Services Division. The cases are tried in the newly-created Sexual Offenses Court, which allows for in camera trials (not open to the public) and is modeled after South Africa’s courts. Since the Unit became fully operational in July 2009, its three trial prosecutors have brought five cases to trial – all of the cases involved victims under the age of 18 – and won convictions in three.
CivPol Advisor Mike White, who is seconded to the United Nations Mission in Liberia, has focused on improving police practices and providing them with tools to improve their investigatory and reporting process, including the creation of new police report forms, case files, and necessary checklists. Both advisors conduct training on investigation and reporting for prosecutors and police. In all their efforts, Bratten and White have partnered with international non-governmental organizations, including the United Nations and the Norwegian Refugee Council, to improve the quality of investigations and reporting.
INL Organized Workshop Builds Capacity in Guatemala National Police
Partnering with the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative in Panama
Throughout Central America, the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) supports efforts to build the capacity of the region’s prosecutors, strengthen due process, and encourage cooperation between prosecutors, judges and police. Like other countries in the region, in 2008, Panama passed a law reforming its criminal procedures, transitioning from a written and inquisitorial system, to an oral and accusatorial system.
To promote proper implementation of the new criminal system and reduce a large pre-trial detention population, INL has partnered with the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) in Panama. ABA ROLI provides training and technical expertise to promote a culture of lawfulness, increase understanding of the Panamanian legal system, improve critical skills such as cross-examination, and build the capacity of police, judicial investigators, prosecutors and judges to address cases related to narcotics and transnational crime.
As part of this effort, in January 2010, ABA ROLI conducted a week-long workshop for 45 representatives from the National Police, the Public Ministry, the Forensic Medicine Institute, the judiciary, and civil society. The training emphasized the role of police and other officials in promoting a culture of lawfulness within the Panamanian justice sector and society in general. The workshop included theoretical discussions of lawfulness, along with practical skills training on such topics as crime scene investigation, chain of custody, and police testimony to promote transparency under the new system. Through these activities, participants gained a greater understanding of how their daily work should promote a culture of lawfulness. Some participants have been designated as trainers and will replicate the workshop for fellow police officers in the future.
The program trained approximately 140 participants in 2009, and through the Merida Initiative, the program is expected to train more than 600 participants over the course of the next 18 months.
Defense of Freedom Medal Awarded to Tate Mallory
Former International Police Advisor (IPA) Tate Mallory received only the second Defense of Freedom Medal ever awarded to an IPA for service in Iraq on February 17, 2010. The Defense of Freedom Medal is awarded to DOD civilians and contractors who are injured or killed as a result of enemy actions. Mallory was severely wounded on October 17, 2006, when a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) struck the humvee in which he was riding in the town of Anah in Al Anbar Province. The RPG ripped through IPA Mallory’s body, entering in his back near his hip and exiting through his upper leg completely severing an artery. Shrapnel from the RPG then caused additional injuries to his stomach and intestines. Mallory was given immediate medical attention in Iraq and medivaced to Germany where US Army doctors performed five operations in 10 days. Upon returning to the United States, Mallory spent the next few months in a hospital in South Dakota before being released.
Mallory received his Defense of Freedom Medal and a Certificate of Appreciation from the Department of State presented by Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (PDAS) Bill McGlynn at a ceremony honoring both Mallory and former IPA Ken Leonard, who lost both feet in a similar attack in Iraq, yet returned to rejoin his police department as a serving police officer. Ken Leonard was also presented a Certificate of Appreciation by McGlynn.
In an emotional acceptance of his medal, Mallory told of how a young Marine saved his life by stopping his profuse bleeding and the many operations and long recovery period he endured. He also thanked his wife and all of the former and current IPAs who have supported his recovery since that day in Iraq.
Peruvian Police Civil Action in Coca Zone
Peruvian Police operating in the coca source zone of the Apurimac and Ene River Valley area began a unique relationship with a medical clinic near the police base at Palma Pampa. Situated in the heart of one of Peru's remaining emergency zones, this clinic is the only available medical care for over twenty local communities. Due to a history of violence in the area, there is a gulf of distrust between the authorities and the local population. The Peruvian police, supported by U.S. Embassy Lima International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) section, engaged the population through civic actions and financed a series of improvements to the facility such as fixing the leaking roof, reestablishing water for the bathrooms, painting, obtaining medical beds, and generally supporting the small, dedicated medical staff.
In 2008, INL Lima, in conjunction with the Peruvian police, donated toys and dental hygiene kits to about fifty children from the town. The police provided bedding and other needed supplies for the clinic and the event was attended by the INL section director and the head of the Peruvian counter narcotics police directorate. Though hesitant at first, the population and the police officers began to intermingle and interact as gifts were handed out … a rarity in this part of the country. Given that promising experience, the Peruvian police doubled its efforts and donated toys and supplies for over 100 children from the town and surrounding areas with big smiles to be seen all around. Furthermore, as part of this donation INL delivered several boxes of hygiene kits consisting of soap, toothpaste, tooth brushes, and new towels given by a U.S.-based women’s organization. Though the activity may seem simple in concept, the impact for the past two years has proven to be substantial. This toy donation has encouraged positive interaction between the police and the local population. What made this year special was the presence of two very new babies born just hours before the arrival of INL personnel who, in honor of the event, were asked to participate in the naming of the newborns.
INL-funded Equipment Helps in Costa Rican Drug Bust
Peñas Blancas is a busy border crossing along Costa Rica’s border with Nicaragua in the Guanacaste Province. On February 12, 2010 approximately 6 kilos of amphetamines were seized at the Peñas Blancas border post. A suspicious vehicle was sent by Costa Rican Border Police for further examination to the inspection station which was built nearly nine years ago with the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) funds. Costa Rican Narcotics Control Police used Mérida Initiative-purchased CT-30 detection kits to find the drugs hidden in the vehicle’s exhaust system. The CT-30 Detection Kit of equipment for cargo inspection and highway interdiction includes all the tools required for inspecting freight, vehicles, boats and planes for contraband. The detection kits were donated to the Costa Rican authorities in November 2009.
Tajikistan – Emergency First Responder Course for Law Enforcement Officers
The Police Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan hosted an emergency first responder training course January 18–29, 2010 which will improve the quality of emergency medical care rendered to victims of accidents and illnesses. The U.S. Embassy's International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) section funded the course, and James Kelly, a retired instructor from the New York City Police Department Academy who now advises the MIA Academy, organized and instructed the course.
The participants included officers from the MIA Police Academy, MIA Police Training Center, Drug Control Agency (DCA), Main Department of the Border Guards (SCNS), and State Committee on National Security. During the course, the officers learned how to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to adults, provide basic life support, counter airway obstructions, and recognize the symptoms of a life-threatening injury or illness. In addition to the specialized training, the U.S. Embassy also provided modern equipment, including automated external defibrillators and casualty kits.
“We established the emergency management faculty in September 2009 and want to learn more techniques to build up the expertise of our instructors,” said the Police Academy Director Abduhakim Sherali Rozikzoda. “We are looking to build our capacity according to international standards,” he continued.
The Police Academy was established in 1991. It is located in Dushanbe, with an additional campus in Khujand. It is a four-year institution and is Tajikistan's largest law enforcement educational facility. The U.S. Government enjoys an ongoing partnership with the Police Academy, which includes providing English-language training for the officers and working with the Academy's executive staff to modernize training, curriculum, and infrastructure development.
U.S. Embassy Dushanbe Improves Living Conditions of Border Guard Academy Cadets
The U.S. Embassy Dushanbe International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) section has completed the first phase of reconstruction work at the Tajikistan Border Guard Academy in Dushanbe. This project is funded by the U.S. Government and is one of a series of projects assisting the Tajik Border Guards to improve educational facilities for border officers and thereby support the security of Tajikistan.
The first phase reconstruction work at the Border Guard Academy, which cost slightly over one million U.S. dollars, covering the demolition of old buildings, a complete renovation of the dormitory building, and the installation of cold and hot water supply for showers and toilets in the dormitory. The dormitory was also furnished with more than 1500 pieces of furniture.
The second phase of the Border Guard Academy project is underway and is planned for completion in late May. It will cover construction of a new dining facility, gym, heating system, toilets, garages, and a new ID checkpoint at the Academy. The contractor for the first and second phases of the project is Bozdemir Insaat ve Mehendisilik Ltd., a Turkish firm selected through an international tender.
The United States Government is committed to continuing cooperation with Tajik law enforcement agencies. The U.S. Embassy Dushanbe INL section has cooperated with Tajikistan law enforcement agencies since 1992 in implementing assistance projects totaling more than 29 million U.S. dollars to provide border security, support rule of law, and combat drug trafficking efforts.
Eight Belize Prison Officers Attend Correctional Officer Cadet Basic Training Course
One goal of the Mérida Initiative is to improve the capacity of the Belizean judicial system. Prison officials need techniques, training, and equipment to strengthen control of prisons, especially those housing suspected gang members. Ultimately, the eight prison officers will be better prepared to provide instructions at the prison’s training academy upon their return to duty. To date, a total of thirty Belizean officials have benefitted from training like this through the Mérida Initiative.
U.S.-Mexico Demand Reduction Policy Meeting
The three-day conference focused on the two nations’ coordinated efforts and unilateral initiatives to reduce illicit drug consumption and minimize the negative consequences associated with illicit drug abuse. It underscored the continuing commitment of the United States and Mexico to work together to reduce the demand for drugs, and highlighted the importance of intensifying prevention and treatment efforts, including measures to strengthen families and communities to help reduce the influence of criminal organizations and develop and sustain healthy lifestyles and attitudes, particularly among at-risk populations, such as young people. A bi-national declaration on reducing drug abuse was issued at the conclusion of the meeting.
As Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy said “… by focusing on prevention and treatment of substance abuse disorders, we can significantly improve the public health and safety of our peoples.” Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in her statement, “This collaborative effort to reduce illicit drug use is moving in the direction of building a health system that extends beyond treatment facilities and doctor's offices,” adding, “We are building a health system that prepares communities to prevent illicit drug consumption and promotes a healthy society.”
The First Provincial Justice Conference in Badghis Province