RFCFS International Activity
The Centre's main goal is to protect the interests of the state, the rights and freedoms of citizens, and the rights of legal entities by conducting comprehensive, scientifically based forensic examinations. To achieve this goal and to ensure high quality of expert work and reduce its overall time frame the RFCFS is constantly striving to meet the advanced achievements of forensic science worldwide.
Intense activity of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation in the field of international integration of our country in the global and regional legal space poses a wide range of tasks in front of the RFCFS as a leading scientific and methodic centre in the system of forensic institutions. These tasks are related to establishment of international relations and expansion of cooperation with specialized forensic institutions in the countries of near and far abroad.
Within the framework of this activity the RFCFS’ tasks are as following:
- ensuring effective participation of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation in international cooperation at the bilateral, regional and global levels, maintaining Russia's authority in the international arena;
- development of scientific and methodological support of the system of forensic institutions (FIs) of the Russian Ministry of Justice at the modern scientific and technical level;
- mastering foreign best practices and innovation of current developments of the world's forensic science as well as of tools and methods in expert performance;
- harmonization of legislation in the field of forensic activities.
To solve the tasks set forward and to comply with the instructions of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation the RFCFS is promoting international cooperation within the framework of:
- Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO);
- European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI);
- International contacts with forensic institutions of other countries.
Work in the field of forensic science within the framework of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is important for efforts consolidation and interaction of the Ministries of Justice of SCO member states, forensic institutions, scientific community and educational institutions of the Eurasian space with the purpose of implementation of the Rule of Law principle, improvement of forensic activities and quality upgrading of forensic examination as one of the main forms of special knowledge use in current litigation.
The work on interaction organisation in forensic field has been progressing consistently and systematically. In 2013 the First Meeting of the Ministers of Justice of SCO member states was held whereon the need for cooperation in the field of forensic expertise was underlined. In 2014 the Conference on forensic activities in the SCO member states was held in Shanghai (People's Republic of China). In 2017 Regulations of the Working Group of Experts on forensic activities of the Meeting of the Ministers of Justice of SCO member states were approved at the V Meeting of Ministers of Justice of SCO member states. In 2018 at the VI Meeting of Ministers of Justice of SCO member states there was approved an action plan of the group for 2018-2020. In the framework of this plan the International scientific and practitioner conference “East-West: partnership in forensic expertise. Improvement of forensic activities as a factor in ensuring the intellectual property protection" was arranged and held by RFCFS.
In September 2019 the RFCFS representatives took part in preparatory activities to the VII Meeting of Ministers of Justice of SCO member states whereon the Indian party took the initiative to review the draft of the Memorandum on cooperation in the field of forensic expertise.
The framework of cooperation with the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes is another important area of the Centre's international activities. RFCFS has been the ENFSI member since 2005. The Centre started participating in its work in 1999. All this time RFCFS has been constantly monitoring new developments, methods and tools that can be used to improve the work efficiency of forensic institutions of the Russian Ministry of Justice. All ENFSI member laboratories must be accredited according to ISO 17025 standard, which guarantees the quality of forensic examinations performance. RFCFS has been accredited under this standard since 2009 and plans to expand the areas of accreditation in future.
One of the forms of ENFSI cooperation is holding of conferences of expert working groups in certain areas of forensic expertise. Currently ENFSI has 17 expert working groups, which meet annually in different member countries in turn. RFCFS experts participate in international conferences and seminars; make presentations on forensic science achievements in Russia. Over the years RFCFS became the organizer of a number of such events. In particular, the 18th annual international conference of ENFSI working expert group on forensic analysis of speech and sound took place in Moscow in 2016. In 2018, the 21st annual conference of the ENFSI working group on information technologies was held on the base of the North-West Regional Centre of Forensic Science.
The RFCFS employees not only participate in the events arranged by ENFSI, but are also members of the steering committees of two expert working groups. Permanent contacts of RFCFS experts with ENFSI partners allow to receive relevant information about new developments, share experiences and assist forensic institutions of the Russian Ministry of Justice in mastering best practices in the field of forensic activities.
RFCFS maintains working ties with the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS) and also keeps up bilateral relationship with forensic institutions of Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Armenia. Meetings with colleagues at scientific and methodological events, exchange of delegations and meetings of managers are held annually within the framework of bilateral agreements.
The RFCFS work on ensuring high quality of forensic production, including accreditation of laboratories according to ISO 17025 standard, allows for RFCFS experts to perform world level forensic examinations, which are accepted by international courts.
The priority areas of partnership in the field of forensic expertise are the international standards introduction in forensic institutions of participating countries of international organizations, information resources exchange, scientific development and expert technologies advancement, training and retraining of professional staff.
Perspective areas of activity
In furtherance of its goals, the RFCFS continues to develop partnerships based on mutually beneficial cooperation. The priority areas of activities will mostly remain the same. These are the formats of the Meeting of Ministers of Justice of SCO member states, European Network of Forensic Science Institutes and bilateral contacts with government forensic institutions.
Currently, the work continues on the following venues:
- scientific and methodological cooperation, including the issues of certification and validation of methodological support of forensic expertise;
- standardization and accreditation in the field of forensic activities;
- improving the system of retraining and advanced professional training of forensic institutions' employees.
Partnership relations of government forensic institutions within the framework of agreements between the Ministries of Justice allow for the implementation of mutually beneficial cooperation of forensic experts of participating countries and assist in more effective address of complex theoretical and practical challenges associated with special knowledge use in criminal and civil proceedings.