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From the CBRN Crime Scene to the Courtroom: Training for the ASEAN Region

From the CBRN Crime Scene to the Courtroom: Training for the ASEAN Region

Singapore -


Investigation, prosecution and adjudication of incidents involving chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) materials require close coordination between diverse stakeholders. Defence and civilian scientists play a special role in the investigation and prosecution of CBRN criminal cases, helping collect, identify, and preserve evidence to be presented in court. Sample collection and laboratory analysis using proper detection and identification equipment and protocols help law enforcement authorities build a case for prosecution. In some cases, scientific and technical experts may also testify in court. For this reason, prosecution authorities need to know how to work hand in hand with scientists to help take a criminal case from the CBRN-contaminated crime scene to the courtroom.   

The European Union Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence Initiative (EU CBRN CoE) and the Network of ASEAN Chemical, Biological and Radiological (CBR) Defence Experts (ASEAN CBR Network), understand the distinctly cross-cutting nature of CBRN crimes and the importance of creating opportunities for technical exchange and cooperation to enhance regional capabilities in the handling of CBRN materials.

With a view to this shared commitment, on 30 October to 3 November 2023, the EU CBRN CoE and the ASEAN CBR Network Secretariat, Singapore’s DSO National Laboratories, in close coordination with UNICRI, the IAEA, CBRN CoE Project 62 (“On-Site Technical Assistance to Southeast Asia”) and the CBRN CoE Regional Secretariat for the Southeast Asia, proudly delivered a joint workshop, bringing together 40 defence and civilian scientists from across Southeast Asia to strengthen “Detection, Response and Deterrence of Biological and Radiological Crimes”.

The first jointly funded, jointly implemented event between the EU CBRN CoE and the ASEAN CBR Network, the workshop featured a two-day training based on A Prosecutor’s Guide to Chemical and Biological Crimes, published in 2022, and A Prosecutor’s Guide to Radiological Crimes, expected to be finalised by the end of the year. Funded by the European Union, the Guides and associated training packages consisting of 37 modules were developed by UNICRI in close coordination with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Nuclear Forensics Centre of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission, and the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP).

Representing an important contribution to CBRN risk mitigation, the Prosecutor’s Guides and associated training modules aim to provide police, prosecutors, and relevant investigative bodies with guidance to support the successful prosecution of incidents involving the deliberate acquisition, stockpiling, production, transfer, or use/misuse of CBRN materials.


Background information

The EU CBRN CoE is a global Initiative funded and implemented by the European Union as part of its goal to promote peace, stability and conflict prevention.

The aim of the Initiative is to mitigate risks and strengthen an all-hazards security governance in Partner Countries of the EU following a voluntary and demand-driven approach. The EU support is provided to implement a wide range of CBRN risk mitigation activities including needs and risk assessments, national and regional action plans, capacity building activities, legal framework reviews, table top and real time (including cross-border) field exercises, inter-regional exchange of best practices and lessons learnt.

Funded and implemented through the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) – Global Europe, the Initiative is led by the European Commission’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI), in close coordination with the European External Action Service (EEAS). The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) provides technical support to Partner Countries, while the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) ensures a coherent and effective national, regional and international cooperation. Other relevant International and/or Regional Organisations and experts also contribute to the Initiative, which represents the EU’s largest civilian external security programme.