Participants and speakers at the seminar
Participants and speakers at the seminar

On 10 July 2018, the IRZ together with the Moroccan Public Prosecutor’s Office in Casablanca, organised a seminar on “An introduction to toxicology”. This took place as part of the “Cooperation with the Kingdom of Morocco in the field of legal and forensic medicine, with particular consideration paid to the concerns of the Moroccan justice system” project. The IRZ is coordinating this project between 2017 and 2019 as part of the project financed by the German Foreign Office (“Transformation partnerships with North Africa/the Middle East”).

Experts from the Berlin Charité gave the participants from public prosecutor’s offices and legal and forensic medicine an overview of toxicology in Germany and pointed out the methods that are currently used for detecting toxic effects. 

Following an introduction to the legal framework and terms of forensic toxicology, the speakers talked about the systems used for toxicological examinations. Urine, blood, hair and organs can be used to make statements about the possible cause of death by various substances. 

The German experts used examples of cases to demonstrate the particularities of carbon monoxide poisoning, which was used back in ancient times as a means of suicide or murder weapon. The last lecture of the seminar was about the advantages and disadvantages of hair analysis. The lecture dealt in particular with the time window for proving substance misuse and the formal specifications for analysing test subjects. 

The participants actively took part in the rounds of questions and discussions that followed the lectures. The introduction to toxicology was a good starting point for talking about the current situation and the cooperation between toxicology institutes, legal and forensic medicine and the public prosecutor’s office in Morocco. Unlike in Germany, toxicology in Morocco is not associated with institutes of legal and forensic medicine, which means that communications between the two different authorities do not always run smoothly. 

Further seminars on legal and forensic medicine are planned for Morocco after the summer break. The Moroccan partners continue to show a great deal of interest in the subject.