Beni: The United Nations Police (UNPOL) Trains Congolese Police Officers to Conduct Criminal Investigations

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On Wednesday 5 April, MONUSCO police launched two training courses for twenty Congolese police officers in the town of Beni. For ten days, two groups of ten police officers will be trained respectively on the direction of investigations and the management of crime scenes. For UNPOL officials in Beni, the aim is to help these twenty police officers to conduct effective investigations and to know how to behave at crime scenes in order to facilitate the work of justice against impunity.

Major John Kitalebe Lutete joined the military prosecution service in 2010. He has been working at the military prosecutor’s office in Beni for seven years, investigating crimes committed in the town. He is one of the twenty people trained.

“This training will help us to know how to conduct an investigation in the field because Beni is a very complex area. Many crimes are recorded,” says the judicial police inspector”.

While this part of the country is still plagued by the activism of armed groups, responsible for the massacres of civilians, Major John Kitalebe said that this training is very useful for investigators whose job is to collect evidence to allow the justice system to do its job properly.

“Confession is not evidence”

Among the trainers is Commissaire Principal Israël Mumbere Mutoto, commander of the Mbau police. This Congolese police officer insists that in matters of crime “the criminal’s confession is no longer the most important evidence”. It is therefore the responsibility of the investigators to look for material evidence in order to help the judges to decide on the basis of objective elements. This is the importance of the training organised by UNPOL.

“This training will help us to know how to conduct an investigation in the field because Beni is a very complex area”

“The technical police use current technological means to collect evidence that will make it possible to determine the perpetrator of the crime,” explains the chief commissioner

In front of the police trainees, he insists that one of the things an investigator should not do is “contaminate the crime scene”: “He should not rush to the crime scene without taking precautions. He should take the precaution of not touching anything for fear of leaving his fingerprints”

For him, it is necessary that similar trainings are organised regularly. “We would like to upgrade officers who are called upon to conduct investigations at crime scenes so that they make the best use of technology in this context,” he said.

Sharing experience

Present at the launch of these two training courses, the deputy head of the MONUSCO office in Beni notes that the UN police has some expertise that it must share with the Congolese police.

“The usefulness of strengthening the capacities of the Congolese police is an element of MONUSCO’s mandate,” Abdourahamane Ganda recalled, before continuing: “We have a police force that has a lot of expertise that comes from different countries. It would be useful to share this experience with the Congolese defence and security forces. In all the discussions, the Congolese authorities express the need to strengthen the capacities of its police and army.”

The twenty participants in these two training sessions will, in turn, train their colleagues. “The main objective is to strengthen the professional capacities of our partners from the police and the military auditorate,” said Amadou Barry, head of the unit for the fight against organised crime.

For him, at the end of the ten days of training, the participants will be able to record offences, search for criminals, gather evidence and bring the perpetrators before the competent courts.

These two trainings are part of a series of nine trainings that will be organised by UNPOL throughout this year in Beni. A total of 147 police officers are taking part in these training sessions. The aim is to strengthen the operational capacities of the Congolese police to enable them to carry out their mission effectively.

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