Participants from diverse national law enforcement institutions are placed into inter-institutional working groups that will remain in place throughout the theoretical phase of the course. During the course introduction participants begin by participating in a role play called the Chain of Co-Responsibility that charts a legally authorized firearms transfer that eventually is diverted to illicit actors and used to commit a human rights violation.  Participants are then provided with a baseline quiz on illicit firearms trafficking and armed violence. This quiz is repeated upon course completion to measure impact on theory and concepts.

In the introductory session ground rules are set and participants are provided with course materials (t-shirts, hat, manual and ammunition tracing gauge) and an overview of the course schedule.


Module 1:
Basic Concepts: Firearms, Ammunition and Explosives

A comprehensive overview of the technical aspects of firearms, ammunition and explosives focused on providing participants with the knowledge and tools necessary to comprehensively identify and trace illicit firearms and ammunition. Definitional and classification issues of firearms, small arms, light weapons, ammunition and explosives are covered.

Participants engage in hands-on firearms and ammunition tracing exercises utilizing UN-LiREC firearms identification forms and the ammunition tracing gauge. The techniques will be applied further during the culminating Practical Exercise.



Module 2:
Human Security, Firearms Proliferation and Armed Violence

This module is divided into three parts. During the part one, participants establish a common discourse on a range of security concepts relevant to combating the illicit trade in firearms such as national security, regional security, public security, human security, human rights, gender and youth.

Part two presents the different modalities of legal and illicit firearms transfers as well as contemporary knowledge on the magnitude and nature of the illicit trade with a particular emphasis on the Latin American and Caribbean region.

Part three presents the different impacts of the excessive proliferation and unlawful use of firearms on armed violence in both armed conflict and crime contexts. Specific attention is paid to the role of young Latin American and Caribbean men as the primary perpetrators and victims of armed violence.

In Module 2 participants are asked to work in groups to draw mental maps of border areas identifying points commonly used for illicit firearms trafficking, modalities employed, actors involved and describe the general security situation.



Module 3:
International Instruments and Normative Frameworks

Provides a detailed thematic discussion of the four international instruments universally applicable to the Latin American and Caribbean region (the UN Firearms Protocol, the UN Programme of Action, the International Tracing Instrument and the Inter-American Convention) covering the following issues: definitions; marking and tracing; transfers authorizations and licensing; confiscation and destruction; brokering; information exchange; and the establishment of national coordination mechanisms. Participants are invited to contrast national laws and procedures with the prescription of the international instruments.

A fictitious scenario of illicit firearms trafficking based on a real-life case is presented to the participants who are asked to work together in groups in order to determine which international instruments were violated during the deal and how the proper implementation of the same instruments could have prevented the transaction.



Module 4:
Intelligence and Investigation

This module is divided into two parts. The first part focuses on presenting basic intelligence techniques as tools for combating illicit firearms trafficking beginning with basic intelligence concepts, the intelligence process, sources and moving towards a discussion of tactical, criminal, preventive and strategic intelligence. In working groups participants are asked to develop the framework for a national intelligence estimate on illicit firearms trafficking.

The second part of Module 4 is dedicated to providing participants with practical tools for criminal investigations. Participants receive training on the usage of INTERPOL´s various electronic resources for tracing illicit firearms. Later, participants receive instruction in crime scene management as related to identifying and preserving firearms and ammunition as evidence in criminal processes.  Participants are provided a hands on opportunity to prepare firearms and ammunition samples for the chain of custody in a judicial process.


Module 5:
Practical Disarmament Measures

Provides participants with an overview of internationally recognized measures for small arms control and armed violence reduction including the disarmament components of peace processes, voluntary weapons collection programmes, destruction, the suppression of illicit firearms in public spaces and firearms registration drives. Advantages, shortcomings and best practices are share from experiences within the Latin American and Caribbean region. Participants are asked to work together in groups to design a practical disarmament initiative including objectives, partners, target beneficiaries and success criteria. This module emphasizes the importance of the agency of women in national commissions and as practitioners of disarmament and violence reduction measures.
  Module 6:
Stockpile Management and Destruction

Provides a comprehensive induction to international standards and best practices in stockpile management and destruction as important measures to prevent illicit firearms trafficking and safety of personnel and communities, including sound information management to guarantee transparency and good governance.  Stockpile management component focuses on physical location, risk analysis, security measures and accounting. Destruction component focuses on the identification of surplus, obsolete and decommissioned weapons for disposal. Includes the cost benefit analysis of different destruction methods, including environmental considerations.
  Module 7:
Practical Exercise

The course culminates with a two- part Practical Exercise beginning with the presentation of an intelligence report and culminating in the presentation of material evidence to a grand jury. Participants are divided into two groups and further into intelligence, operation and judicial sub-groups. One group intervenes against a rural household where illegal drugs and firearms are trafficked and women and children are present. The second group intervenes against an illicit ammunition factory run by youth gangs in an urban setting.

Participants are required to intervene and use force appropriately in the persecution of illicit traffickers, respecting the human rights and constitutional guarantees of those involved. They are then to cordon off the crime scene and prepare the evidence for a grand jury trial. Evidence is then presented before a judge who determines if the evidence warrants a full criminal trial depending on the integrity of the evidence and the respect of the human rights and procedural guarantees of those implicated. International observers also provide feedback on participant performance.
  Flashpoint Topic:
Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law and Use of Force

Presents the legal parameters for the use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials in conflict and non-conflict situations as presented by the International Committee of the Red Cross.  Designed to provide participants with conceptual background for the use of force to be taken into consideration during the Practical Exercise.
  Flashpoint Topic:
Technical Considerations in the Use of Force in Combating Illicit Firearms Trafficking

Provides participants with the technical and practical knowledge for employing the gradual use of force and firearms when pursuing criminal suspects in the context of combating the illicit trade in firearms.  Complements conceptual presentation with perspectives from law enforcement instructors.
  Flashpoint Topic:
Youth and Child Protection in Combating Illicit Firearms

Provides an overview of the role of youth and children in illicit firearms trafficking as well as the impact of trafficking and armed violence on this same demographic group. In the Practical Exercise participants will encounter youth and children as criminal suspects, witnesses and innocent bystanders. The information presented here provides participants with knowledge of international standards on child and youth arrest, interrogation and detention. Participants are shown a video of the interrogation of a minor in a homicide case and asked to identify where interrogators violated accepted international standards.
  Flashpoint Topics
(under development)

- Border control
- Maritime border control
- Illegal narcotics and illicit firearms trafficking
- Gender