Main characteristics of current state and capabilities of forensic institutions of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation

Currently, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation has its own forensic institutions (FIs) in all federal districts of the Russian Federation, which perform forensic examinations and expert research under the order of courts, bodies of inquiry and inquiry officers and investigators.

RFCFS of the Russian Ministry of Justice (the FIs’ structure) performs both primary forensic expertise for investigative and judicial bodies of Moscow and Moscow region and the most challenging and recurrent examinations of all types and variations ordered by any investigative body or court of the Russian Federation.

The RFCFS of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation provides scientific and methodological support for conducting research in the system of forensic institutions of the Russian Ministry of Justice at the current scientific level, including:

  • • development of new types of forensic expertise, basing on the needs of judicial and investigative practice;
  • • scientific studies on theoretical and methodological issues of forensic expertise, development and improvement of expert research methods;
  • • arranging the approbation and implementation of new scientific research results, studying the effectiveness of their use in the expert practice;
  • • arranging conferences, research workshops and training on relevant issues of theory and practice of forensic examination;
  • • training, qualification upgrading and attestation of employees in accordance with the established procedure; serving internships for the FIs experts, regardless of their departmental affiliation, development of their training programs;
  • • organizing the review of expert forensic report of the FIs’ experts;
  • • composition formation and functional support of the Central Commission for Expert Qualifications; providing and extending the right of the FI employees to independently perform forensic expertise in accordance with the procedure determined by the Ministry of Justice of Russia;
  • • supplying the FIs of the Russian Ministry of Justice with theoretical and methodological research and development results in the field of forensic science; prepares publications and publishes a collection of scientific papers, methodological and reference materials, as well as information materials on new scientific developments in the field of forensic science abroad;
  • • methodological work with law enforcement agencies and courts on the issues of assignment and performance of forensic examinations and expert research;
  • • involving the dissertation research section, which is part of the RFCFS structure, in organization of training in master's and postgraduate programs with subsequent dissertation defense in the Dissertation Board.

The list of types and varieties of forensic examination performed by the regional forensic science centers (RFSC) (the FIs structure) includes most of the general list of examinations performed by the FIs of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation. The RFSC employs experts attested on a broad range of expert specialties. They are able to solve expert tasks using the RFSC state of the art analytical equipment and instrumental base. RFSC, in addition to expert activities of their own, are tasked to provide scientific and methodic support and coordination of scientific and methodological work to the supervised forensic laboratories.

Zonal forensic laboratories of the Russian Ministry of Justice (the FIs’ structure) perform their expert activities on the basis of Statutes within the scope of the list of expert examination types approved for each laboratory. The laboratories interact with RFSC on the issues of scientific and methodological work, training and qualification upgrading of employees and statistical data processing.

The traditional forensic examinations are performed mainly in small FLs and their non-resident units (departments, groups) such as handwriting examination, technical examination of documents, trace evidence and ballistic examinations as well as auto vehicle examination (including vehicles evaluation), forensic construction and technical examination and economic examination (primarily the accounting expertise).

Larger and more developed FLs, possessing the required specialists and the relevant instrumental base, perform more than 10 types and kinds of examination. In addition to the above mentioned they perform forensic examinations of materials, substances and products (FEMSP), soil and biological, engineering and technical, merchandising, fire and technical, psychological examination etc.

Current capabilities of forensic examination types performed by the FIs of the Russian Ministry of Justice

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