Embassy of the United States of America
Public Affairs Section
Fax: 880-2-9881677, 9885688
REMARKS BY U.S. AMBASSADOR MARCIA BERNICAT AT THE CODIS SOFTWARE GRADUATION CEREMONY
Dhaka, February 22, 2018
Mr. Md. Mokhlesur Rahman, BPM (bar), Additional Inspector General, Administration, Police Headquarters
Mr. Abdus Salam, Additional Inspector General, Industrial Police
Mr. Md. Saiful Alam, Deputy Inspector General, CID
All officials of CID and Bangladesh Police
Asallam alaikum, shubho beekal and good afternoon.
Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today; it is indeed a privilege to be here.
To the graduates of this course, I congratulate you on your accomplishment this week and am proud to stand with you today.
Perhaps you’ve seen on television:
CSI New York
Well, now I’m looking forward to CSI Dhaka.
At last, some of the capabilities and technologies we have become familiar with are now in the hands of the Bangladesh police.
I am so very proud to be here today to hand over to you, the Bangladesh National Police, this critical investigative tool . . . CODIS.
We have all waited several years for this day. At times, some of us thought this day might not come. Yet we remained patient. But now through the persistence of you, our Bureau of Counterterrorism, the FBI, and ICITAP we can finally say that our patience has paid off.
For our friends present who may be wondering just what CODIS is, I’ll give you a brief description. The FBI Laboratory’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) blends forensic science and computer technology into an effective tool for solving crimes. CODIS enables law enforcement crime laboratories to exchange and compare DNA profiles electronically, thereby linking serial violent crimes to each other, and to known offenders.
Over the years the U.S. State Department., through ICITAP and the FBI, has worked with you to assist in developing your state of the art laboratory. Yet, you were missing this critical piece of technology that would allow you to not just analyze DNA, but to compare those results with known and unknown samples. You are now just one of fifty-one countries in the world that have this capability through CODIS. So the Bangladesh police have now taken another step towards being linked with the information world.
CODIS offers criminal justice practitioners new opportunities in their effort to promote and support the rule of law in Bangladesh. CODIS presents objective conclusions, rather than opinions. It will help convict the guilty, as well as exonerate the innocent. CODIS will help investigators seek the truth, through solid, scientific facts, not conjecture.
CODIS worldwide has been used to solve cases that have remained open pending the discovery of new evidence; or commonly known as cold cases. CODIS offers the opportunity to reopen these cases in Bangladesh and arrest those who have, until now, have been able to escape justice.
But a word of caution, if you please. With sophisticated technology comes added responsibilities. CODIS can only examine the evidence that is introduced into the system. We all know that evidence collected at the crime scene must be meticulously collected, carefully preserved, and kept free of contamination. Contaminated evidence can have dire consequences – the guilty can go free and, in some cases, an innocent person might be implicated.
We all see the images on television and the newspapers where crowds of people, including members of the press, are walking over and through crime scenes. The public must be educated to stay clear of crime scenes and to allow the police to process an uncontaminated crime scene. The police must take more proactive steps to protect the integrity of crime scenes. The press can help by educating the public of the importance of remaining outside the marked perimeters of crime scenes until after the scene is examined. Otherwise a case that might have been solved, could now become another cold case.
In closing, I want to thank you, the participants, for demonstrating the enthusiasm for learning the new skills that were taught this week. Thank you for committing the time and energy to becoming ever practitioners of your craft so that you can better serve the people of Bangladesh. This technology, combined with your expertise, can be a major factor in the improvement of the criminal justice system in Bangladesh.
I wish you all the very best.