IV Certification Workshop

Mensagem proferida em língua inglea, no dia 11 de setembro de 2011, pelas 9h30, no Pestana Casino Park Hotel. Com a seguinte mensagem, Sua Excelência o Representante da República para a R.A.M., abriu o “workshop”, como responsável da presidência do mesmo. No final pediu, aos presentes, um minuto de silêncio pelas vítimas do atentado de “11 de setembro.”

“IV Certification Workshop”

1. It is a great pleasure for me to be here today.

This workshop is designed specially for experts who investigate human rights violations wherever they may occur.

It is precisely to human rights that I have devoted the majority of my professional life, including serving on the European Commission of Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights.

In these institutions, I had the opportunity to see how crucial the work undertaken by the experts was in investigating, analyzing and reporting these violations and in establishing who is responsible.

In fact, after the barbarism of the Second World War it was thought that peace, democracy, respect for the law and human dignity would govern relations among people. Yet, today the violation of human rights, which is usually referred to as war crimes or crimes against humanity, is becoming more frequent and more violent.

In this fight against those who have a total leak of respect for the others, experts need scientific and technical knowledge so that they can provide exact and appropriate information to substantiate the correct judgements of the institutions that will rule on situations involving violation of human rights.

In a world of continuous scientific and technical development, it is only possible through workshops like this to inform and train experts for all types of research missions and teach them how to render assistance in systems that lack the values that should protect a democratic society and which are based on the respect of human beings.

2. There have been giant leaps in the development of science and technology when considering forensic examination.

I remember when I started my career, in the 1960s, forensic experts were not often called on to contribute with their knowledge and ability to help to determine the person responsible for a suspicious or doubtful situation.

Instead, they provided what I call negative proof, which consisted of showing that a situation or event had not occurred or that a particular person was not responsible for it.

For example, then, during a paternity investigation, the examination and comparison of blood of the so-called father, was made using the ABO blood type and the Rhésus factor.

In this context, this type of examination either refuted the paternity or left everything open.

With the discovery of DNA, everything has changed radically in this and other fields with results that, though not quite like science fiction programmes suggest, are generally encouraging in order to identify the guilty and free the innocent.

In the same way it is possible today to use of high-resolution instruments to perform forensic examination quickly and reliably, which leaves me, I confess, very impressed. .

This is the attitude of someone who began at the time when the identification of fingerprints at the crime scene was done manually by comparing them with stored records.

3. However, this progress cannot ignore the basic principles involved in the collection of evidence or its subsequent use.

The European Court of Human Rights has been considering these questions for some time now and it has even proposed certain guidelines.

That is not the moment to explain these guidelines, but allow me to say, for example, that the manner in which a person is subjected to a forcible medical procedure in order to retrieve evidence from his body must not exceed the minimum level of severity prescribed by the Court’s case-law on Article 3 of the Convention. - Jalloh, § 72.

Another material consideration in such cases is whether the forcible medical procedure was ordered and administered by medical doctors and whether the person concerned was placed under constant medical supervision.

I will give you a text where you can see more elements about this jurisprudence.


I would like, once more, to express my gratitude for choosing this island to host such a relevant event and having invite me to participate in this session.

In officially opening this workshop, I wish all participants the utmost success in combating human rights violations and international crimes, and am sure that the principles outlined here will be a constant in your performance.