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Govt Planning To Introduce DNA Evidence Bill

Legal experts, scientists, and government officials are meeting in Kadoma for a three-day workshop to discuss the proposed DNA Forensic Evidence Bill.

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) forensic evidence is useful in dealing with criminal cases before both criminal and civil courts.

Law Development Commission acting deputy chairperson Rex Shana said the Bill will seek to prescribe offences that require mandatory DNA profiling to be done and the DNA evidence will be used to prove whether a person is guilty or innocent. Said Shana:

DNA forensic evidence has now been proven to be a powerful investigation tool; either to prove the guilt or innocence of a person.

Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe has come up with a DNA Forensic Evidence Bill, which will be presented to Cabinet, and if approved, to Parliament for crafting.

The Bill will also be useful in identifying victims of disasters.

It will include clauses to do with the collection, extraction, and preservation of laboratory analysis, and profiling of DNA-related issues.

Zimbabwe is now faced with crimes that need DNA evidence, and the country must have such a law.

… The Bill will also outline the manner in which DNA evidence should be tested, and the setting up of a National DNA database which will be housed under the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage.

A council whose membership shall consist of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage officials, the Forensic Science Department (ZRP), the Ministry of Justice Legal, and other ancillary officials shall be established.

University of Zimbabwe faculty of medicine lecturer Ian Machingura Ruredzo said:

The Bill will ensure the nation standardises how DNA evidence is collected, processed and reported so that it can be used as evidence before the courts for identification purposes. The crafting of this Bill is long overdue.

A detective inspector with the Criminal Investigators Department, who was a participant in the workshop, said:

If enacted, the proposed law will make our work easier, and it will enhance the quality of forensic results pertaining to cases before the courts. This kind of legislation is long overdue.

DNA tests and forensic evidence could be used in resolving murder, culpable homicide, treason, rape, and other offences.

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