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Thursday, May 6th, 2021

DHS presents plan to educate nuclear forensic experts for witness testimony to international partners

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) recently participated in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) workshop in Karlsruhe, Germany, where DHS personnel delivered a presentation on preparing U.S. scientists to serve as expert witnesses in nuclear smuggling cases.

The presentation, titled Presenting Nuclear Forensic Findings in Court, included input from federal partners such as the Department of State, the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Sixteen GICNT partner nations and three observing international organizations were in attendance.

In most cases, the successful prosecution of nuclear smuggling is predicated upon effective technical nuclear forensic evidence and the ability of nuclear experts to describe the evidence to a jury in court.

The program will provide scientists an opportunity to practice their skills using a fictional set of nuclear forensic case materials, concluding with a mock trial. From there, a panel of nuclear experts will provide feedback and tips for effective technical and communications skills.

DHS said while the program is designed for cases in the U.S. legal system, it does plan to work with partner nations to modify the modules for expert witness testimony for international legal systems.