Forensic Science Principles – Paving the way for IAFS 2023
Many facets of forensic science have been challenged for more than a decade. Scholars, forensic science organisations and peak Government bodies have collectively identified various issues or concerns relating to education, training, quality management and more. Many of the identified challenges may be linked to a more fundamental issue; there is little to no consensus on how best forensic science can be characterised as a discipline. Because of this shortcoming, it has been challenging to define the core principles of forensic science. This is a significant roadblock for the ongoing development and improvement of forensic science. How can we teach, research, and apply forensic science effectively if we are unclear about its fundamental principles?
These principles have now been debated by a group of more than 15 world-leading forensic scientists at the forefront of the planning for the 22nd Triennial Meeting of the International Association of Forensic Sciences in conjunction with the 25th Symposium of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society. Unfortunately, this meeting could not be hosted in Sydney in 2020 as planned due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To acknowledge this excellent work and wonderful support for IAFS 2020, a live-streamed and recorded event entitled ‘Paving the Way for IAFS 2023’ will cover current and future challenges in forensic science under the IAFS 2023 theme of ‘where to from here?’. Attendees will also gain early access to the principles titled the Sydney Declaration, which provides a fundamental definition and principles for forensic science.
Date: Tuesday 18 May 2021
Time: 8:00pm – 10:00pm AEST (Sydney) / 11:00am – 1:00pm (London) / 6:00am – 8:00am (New York).
Moderator: Prof. Claude Roux, IAFS President, University of Technology Sydney, Australia
Dr Rebecca Bucht
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Dr Rebecca Bucht is the Head of CSI services at the Forensic Science Laboratory of the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation. Prior to returning to her native Finland in 2017, she worked as a consultant for the US DOJ International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Training Program (ICITAP) as a senior forensic advisor for the program in Algeria and with smaller roles in the Philippines, Tanzania, Brazil and Tunisia. Rebecca received her PhD in Criminal Justice with a specialization in Forensic Science from the Graduate Centre of the City University of New York in 2010. She did her dissertation research at John Jay College of Criminal Justice where she also taught as an adjunct professor for the Forensic Science department.
Her interests include strategies for improving the contribution of forensic science to the criminal justice system, advocating for the benefits of a holistic approach to forensic science as well as operational solutions for mitigating the effects of cognitive biases in forensic examination procedures. Her past research has focused on the use of polarized light to visualize and document blood stains on dark surfaces, the use of multivariate statistics and quantitative x-ray diffraction data for forensic examination of duct tapes, as well as cognitive profiling of fingerprint examiners.
Dr Heesun Chung
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Dr. Heesun Chung is a distinguished professor at the department of Forensic Science in SungKyunKwan University. She obtained her PhD in Pharmacy from Sookmyung Women’s University, Korea in 1987, and subsequently was awarded Foreign Commonwealth Office Scholarship from the UK government to do further postdoctoral study in King’s College, London.
She was a dean and professor of graduate school of analytical science and technology at the Chungnam National University from 2013 to 2020. She was the Director General of the National Forensic Service (formally National Institute of Scientific Investigation), Korea from 2008 to 2012. She had also held many forensic related posts in Korea such as Head of Department of Forensic Science, Director of Narcotics Analysis Division, Director of Drug and Toxicology at the National Institute of Scientific Investigation and many more.
Internationally, she was the 22nd president of the International Association of Forensic Sciences (IAFS) from 2011 to 2014 and hosted IAFS 2014 in Korea. She served as the 13th president of the International Association of Forensic Toxicologists (TIAFT) from 2014 to 2017 and has been an executive Board member since 2002 to present. From 2019, she has been a member of the International Panel of Forensic Experts of UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime). She is currently a president of KOFWST (The Korean Federation of Women’s Science and Technology Associations).
She was awarded many medals and awards including, a Commander of the most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) from UK government, a medal for the distinguished service by the Korean government, a medal for the excellence in Forensic science from the Mongolian Government, the most outstanding Woman Scientist award from the Ministry of Science and Technology.
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Graduate from the French Air Force Academy, Bachelor of Law (Paris XI University), MPhil and PhD in Forensic Science from the Ecole des sciences criminelles, Lausanne (Switzerland), postgraduate from the French War College, Colonel Frank Crispino joined l’Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) in 2012, after 25 years in the French Gendarmerie.
Besides his two commands of Criminal Investigation Departments in Bourges and Bordeaux and his involvement for 10 years on counterterrorism in France and the Middle-East, he created and served as head of the Forensic Anthropology Department at the Institut de recherche criminelle de la gendarmerie nationale – IRCGN (1993-1996), which grounded the present French national Disaster Victimes Identification unit, and headed the Fingermarks and Shoemarks department (1997 – 1999).
He is a fellow of the International Association for Identification, the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies, the Association Québécoise de criminalistique, the Canadian Society of Forensic Science, the Association internationale des criminologues de langue française. author or co-author/co-editor of 4 books, 19 book chapters, more than 60 peer-reviewed articles, and more than 100 presentations worldwide. He is a director of the UQTR Forensic Research Group (www.uqtr.ca/LRC), and a regular researcher at the International Center for Comparative Criminology in Montreal (http://www.cicc.umontreal.ca/en).
Prof Chris Lennard
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Prof Chris Lennard obtained a PhD in Chemistry (Forensic Science) from the Australian National University in 1986 before taking up a postdoctoral position with the School of Forensic Science at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. He returned to Australia in 1994 to work for Forensic Services, Australian Federal Police (AFP), initially as Coordinator Laboratory Services and then as Manager Forensic Operations Support. In this latter role, he was the Chief Scientist, responsible for coordinating forensic research and development across the AFP’s forensic portfolio. In October 2006, he moved to the University of Canberra and took up the role of Professor of Forensic Studies (Head of Discipline). After 8 year in this position, he relocated to Sydney in 2014 to the forensic science program at Western Sydney University (Hawkesbury Campus, Richmond). His research interests include the forensic analysis of trace evidence, the evaluation of portable equipment for forensic applications, and the detection of finger-marks. He has published several book chapters and over 130 articles in international peer-reviewed journals, and he is a co-author of the textbook “Fingerprints and Other Ridge Skin Impressions” (CRC Press, 2nd edition published in 2016).
Prof Pierre Margot
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Prof Pierre Margot obtained a combined degree in forensic science and criminology at Lausanne University, Switzerland, a MSc degree and a PhD degree in forensic science at Strathclyde University, UK. Postdoctoral research led him from Salt Lake City (University of Utah), to the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and the Australian National University in Canberra. Holder of the chair in forensic science since 1986 as the 4th professor occupying the first academic chair in forensic science, created in 1909, he led a research centre and developed further the discipline as a key actor of forensic intelligence, investigative science and in providing evaluative reports. Internationally acclaimed he received major awards (Douglas M. Lucas Medal, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, doctorate honoriscausa, University of Québec (Canada), French speaking Pantheon of criminalistics, ENFSI contributor award and the John Dondero Award of the IAI. Pierre Margot is associate editor of Forensic Science International, and author of numerous publications.
Prof Michelle D. Miranda
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Prof Michelle D. Miranda is a tenured Associate Professor in the Center for Criminal Justice Studies at Farmingdale State College, State University of New York. She has a Ph.D. in criminal justice, forensic science concentration, from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Dr. Miranda is certified by the American Board of Criminalistics and a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Prior to entering academia, she worked as a Criminalist in the Trace Evidence Section of the New York City Police Department Crime Lab. Her research interests include forensic science and criminalistics, detection and investigation, analytical reasoning, gender-based violence and transnational security. Dr. Miranda is the author of the book Forensic Analysis of Tattoos and Tattoo Inks.
Prof Michael S. Pollanen
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Michael S. Pollanen is Professor and Vice-Chair (Innovation) of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto and the Chief Forensic Pathologist for Ontario, Canada. He graduated from the University of Toronto with an MD (1999) and PhD (1995) and completed his residency in 2003. Professor Pollanen’s main academic focus the application of forensic medicine to Global Health by training forensic pathologists and strengthening forensic capacity in the Global South. He has been involved in case work or training missions in: Algeria, Bermuda, Cambodia, Central African Republic, East Timor, Egypt, Haiti, Iraq, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Palestine, Thailand, Uganda and Uzbekistan. His current research interest is nodding Syndrome in Uganda. He has published over 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals. Professor Pollanen is a member of the forensic advisory board of the International Committee of the Red Cross and is a Past President of the International Association of Forensic Science (2015-17). He is a Founder of Forensic Pathology in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. His professional duties include supervising and directing the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service (9000 autopsies/year), conducting autopsy (>4500 autopsies conducted to date), testifying in court (>250 court testimonies to date), and directing academic activities in forensic pathology at the University of Toronto. He is also a Deputy Chief Coroner in Ontario.
Prof Olivier Ribaux
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Prof Olivier Ribaux is a professor at the School of Criminal Justice, University of Lausanne, Switzerland. His research is mainly focused on the use of traces in crime analysis (traceology and forensic intelligence). Beyond his academic career, Olivier had been for several years a crime analyst of the police cantonale of Vaud in Switzerland. His responsibility was to develop, harmonize and implement crime analysis and criminal intelligence analysis methods across 6 police forces and to support specific investigations in various types of crimes. He is now developing a focus on digital transformations in forensic science and policing. He teaches crime analysis and forensic intelligence to university students, police officers and magistrates.
A/Prof Alastair Ross
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From 2003 to 2008 Alastair was Director of the Victoria Police Forensic Services Department, a full service forensic facility with over 300 staff. He returned as director of NIFS from 2008 to 2015. Alastair holds a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration and a Master of Applied Science (Research) from the University of South Australia. Alastair received the Adelaide Medal from the International Association of Forensic Sciences for international contributions to forensic science in 2002 and the John Harber Phillips Award in 2017. He is a life member of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS) and a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).
Distinguished Prof Claude Roux
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Armed with a strong fundamental holistic and reputable education provided by the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, under Lucas Medal winner Professor Pierre Margot, Claude migrated to Australia in 1996. He has been pivotal to the development of forensic science in his adopted country over the past 21 years, promoting it from an embryonic and disparate domain to a research-based and coherent discipline of international standing. He developed and led the first undergraduate degree and PhD program in forensic science in Australia. This resulted in a much-needed cultural change. In 2002, he became the founding Director of the UTS Centre for Forensic Science (CFS – a University Research Strength). Today CFS is considered to be one of the world’s leading academic institutions in forensic science. He has achieved and sustained an international reputation in forensic science education and research and has contributed to promoting Australia as a global leader in this field. His work in forensic science research, education, training and ethics has had a significant impact worldwide. He has provided new tools, evidence-based information and data for a more reliable use of science in the courtroom, in investigation and intelligence. His research has also had an impact on homeland security through strong partnerships with law enforcement, defence and analytical industries.
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Sheila Willis is the current President of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences (CSoFS) and a Fellow of the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science (LRCFS). She spent most of her career in Forensic Science Ireland (FSI) where she was Director General from 2002 to 2017. She was an International Guest Researcher at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 2017-2019 and has been consulting privately since then. She received an Honorary Doctorate from University College Dublin in 2019 where she received her graduate qualifications and carried out research in organometallic chemistry for her Ph.D. at the beginning of her career. She is a recipient of the Boyle Higgins medal from the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland and has delivered a number of lectures in various fora including the Stuart Kind memorial lecture. She chaired the group who produced the ENFSI guideline for evaluative reporting and has published on the topic of ethics and on quality in Forensic Science.
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|Anthropology & Archaeology||Issues relevant to the recovery and examination of human remains (e.g., from clandestine burials), physical anthropology (including human osteology), and the application of archaeological methods to the collection and interpretation of traces.|
|Biological Criminalistics||All aspects of forensic biology, including the collection and analysis of biological materials (from presumptive tests through to DNA profiling), and the interpretation of associated results.|
|Chemical Criminalistics||Physical and chemical analysis of materials, including glass, paint, textile fibres, and miscellaneous substances not covered elsewhere, and the interpretation of the associated results.|
|Clinical Forensic Medicine & Forensic Nursing||All aspects of clinical forensic medicine (clinical practices to support potential legal proceedings) and forensic nursing (nursing processes associated with the treatment of patients in cases of abuse, violence, criminal activity, liability, and accidents).|
|Crime Scene Investigation||Issues related to crime scene examinations and the disciplines generally covered by field-based practitioners (e.g., scene of crime detection, scene recording, footwear impressions, bloodstain pattern analysis, etc.)|
|Digital Forensic Science & Electronic Evidence||Forensic exploitation of the various forms of digital/electronic information that may form part of an investigation (e.g., data from mobile phones, laptops, PCs, PDAs, GPS systems, etc.), including its collection, analysis and interpretation.|
|Document Examination||The examination of questioned documents, including the physical and chemical analysis of paper, inks, toners, etc., and the interpretation of associated results.|
|Education & Training||Issues related to education and training across the various fields of forensic science, including tertiary education, online programs, short courses and continuing professional education.|
|Fingerprint Evidence & Biometrics||Physical and chemical techniques used for fingermark detection and enhancement, together with issues related to fingerprint identification, including the interpretation of fingerprint evidence. Also includes biometric technologies for authentication and identification purposes (e.g., access control) that measure and analyse human body characteristics, such as fingerprints, eye retinas and irises, voice patterns, facial configurations and hand measurements.|
|Firearms & Toolmarks||Issues related to scene examination, and specimen collection, analysis and interpretation for incidents involving firearms and toolmarks. This includes the chemical analysis of firearm discharge residues.|
|Fires & Explosions||Issues related to scene examination, specimen collection, analysis and interpretation for incidents involving fire or explosion. This includes the chemical analysis of fire debris and explosive residues.|
|Forensic Pathology||Pathology that focuses on medicolegal investigations of sudden or unexpected death with a view to determining cause, manner and mode of death.|
|Forensic Taphonomy & Entomology||The interrelated studies of the post-mortem changes of human remains – focusing largely on environmental effects – and the identification and biological attributes of insects with application to forensic investigations (e.g., through estimation of the post-mortem interval).|
|Humanitarian Forensic Science||The application of the knowledge and skills of forensic medicine and science to humanitarian action, especially following conflicts or disasters. This includes the forensic response to mass graves and mass-casualty incidents where Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) protocols are required, and complex investigations and prosecutions of international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.|
|Illicit Drugs & Clandestine Laboratories||Issues related to scene examination, specimen collection and analysis for incidents involving illicit drugs, including clandestine laboratories involved in the manufacture of illicit materials. Specimen analysis includes the application of chemical profiling techniques, related databases, and data interpretation issues.|
|Management & Quality Assurance||Aspects related to the management of forensic services, including quality assurance requirements (e.g., ISO 17025 accreditation).|
|Military Forensic Science & Counterterrorism||The military application of forensic techniques (including battlefield forensics) and issues specifically related to counterterrorism. This includes specimen collection and analysis where CBRN agents may be involved.|
|Odontology||Application of dental science to legal investigations, primarily involving the identification of human remains based on dental records, or the identification of an offender by comparing dental records to a bite mark left on a victim or at the scene.|
|Psychiatry & Behavioural Sciences||Psychiatric consultation and the assessment of mental health applied to legal matters, including clinical work with both offenders and victims. Behavioural science covers the various disciplines that deal with human actions, with such fields including sociology, social and cultural anthropology, and psychology.|
|Science, Justice & Legal Issues||Issues related to the interface between the various forensic science disciplines, the forensic science system and the justice system in its broadest definition, including how forensic evidence is perceived and interpreted by the legal community, how forensic evidence is presented in court, and how we can make forensic science more effective and reliable. This includes cases of alleged or actual wrongful conviction.|
|Toxicology & Pharmacology||Aspects related to the use of toxicology and other disciplines – such as analytical chemistry, pharmacology and clinical chemistry – as part of the medicolegal investigation into incidents of death, poisoning, and drug use. This includes the topic of anti-doping in sports.|
|Wildlife Forensics & Environmental Crime||Issues related to the physical and biochemical analysis of animal- and plant-based material that may be encountered in wildlife crime investigations (e.g., illegal trafficking of native animals and plants), as well as specimen collection and analysis for broader environmental crime investigations, such as pollution incidents.|