Using genetic fingerprinting in criminal investigations
Genetic fingerprinting is today one of the most advanced tools in criminal investigation, whether for establishing connections, identifying a victim, finding a suspect or clearing a wrongly accused person. Although in itself it does not provide proof of guilt, it does enable the investigating officer, in conjunction with the other aspects of the enquiry, to reach a conclusion. It is opportune at this time, without questioning the principle of employing this investigation method - the use of which is steadily increasing - to consider whether the precautions, technical requirements and other miscellaneous aspects that determine its reliability are in fact being required and observed. The issue takes on particular importance in view of the imminent introduction of an automated file system, established in 1998 in respect of sexual crimes and misdemeanours, the field of application of which could shortly be extended to other types of serious crime. After describing the scientific basis of determining a genetic profile, the legal background to the techniques, and foreign practices, the report lists the technical and hardware problems, the solutions adopted or under consideration, and the links in the chain that deserve special attention, by following the route from the taking of biological samples to the recording of data and the possibilities of cross-frontier exchanges.
Short title:
Genetic fingerprinting
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Project leader:
Office Parlementaire dĀ“Evaluation des Choix Scientifiques et Technologiques of the French Parliament (OPECST)