Participants and speakers at the seminar in Fez
Participants and speakers at the seminar in Fez

On 25 and 26 September 2019, the IRZ, in partnership with the Moroccan Public Prosecutor’s Office, organised a two-day seminar in Fez on “Discovery of a corpse – cooperation between the justice system, legal and forensic medicine and the police”. The seminar is 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 the end of this year as part of the project financed by the German Foreign Office (Transformation Partnerships with North Africa/the Middle East).

The objective of the seminar was to point out to the attending public prosecutors the importance of a trusting working relationship between public prosecutors, forensic scientists and the police. A practical example of the discovery of a corpse was used to discuss the crucial roles played by all three parties involved in the criminal investigation.

The following experts were appointed by the IRZ to take part:

  • Prof. Dr. Knut Albrecht, Director of the Brandenburg Regional Institute of Legal and Forensic Medicine;
  • Ralph Knispel, Senior Public Prosecutor, Head of the Capital Offences Department; President of the Vereinigung Berliner Staatsanwälte e.V. (Berlin association of public prosecutors);
  • Christof Lehmkühler, Detective Chief Inspector in the 5th Homicide Division at the Berlin State Office of Criminal Investigations.

The IRZ experts presented the most important provisions in the German Code of Criminal Procedure for legal and forensic medicine. They also discussed in detail the significance of legal and forensic reports in investigation procedures. They stipulated the necessity of establishing quality standards for these reports. Another important topic was the prioritisation of evidence at the crime scene, which the participants discussed with the help of a number of specific case examples.

The current situation in terms of legal and forensic medicine in Morocco was also discussed. They established that the draft legislation on a professional code for forensic scientists, which the IRZ is also advising on as part of this project, should include new and clear regulations for exercising legal and forensic medicine. There are still a few outstanding issues to be resolved in this context, such as the question of sufficient funding for legal and forensic medicine.