TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgian law enforcement will have access to a new DNA database developed by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The so-called CODIS database will be run by Georgia’s national forensic service, and will mainly be used by law enforcement.
The new DNA laboratory will be the first CODIS facility in the South Caucasus region.
The Georgian implementation of CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) is supported by the U.S. State Department.
U.S. law enforcement bodies have until now been the primary users of this DNA database. The system has recently been put in use outside of the United States, and Georgia is one of the first countries to make use of it.
CODIS was created in 1994 on the basis of FBI’s systems and is an electronic catalogue of data. This is a computer system which allows users to compare a DNA sample to an existing database in the country and against existing DNA collections abroad.
Giorgi Khizanishvili, director of the forensic service, says the CODIS database will make the work of law enforcement bodies easier, by making it possible to search DNA found at crime scenes against data kept in the database, which will help Georgia cooperate with the international law enforcement community.
The CODIS database is also used for genetic identification, to search for persons missing in war, to identify dead people in catastrophes and accidents.
“It should be noted that several countries in Western Europe weren’t given this opportunity because laboratories didn’t satisfy appropriate standards. We can compare five and ten year old DNA data and this will make it possible to reopen old cases,” Khisanishvili said.
Mark Cameron from the U.S. Embassy noted that he is very pleased that the embassy has contributed to the establishment of this innovation.
“This is the most modern type of database in this part of Europe.”
He says this will be a huge step forward for the justice system and they’re proud of playing such a role.
With the assistance from American experts, employees of the forensic service will have one week of training, which start on June 11. After that, they will receive certificates from FBI instructors.