Table of Contents
Explosions and mass attack has often been used by terrorists and “hate groups” to cause the most amount of damage to their targets. Sometimes the nature of attack makes it difficult to know the origin, type and the maker of the weapons. Therefore Investigation is critical in identifying the suspects through reconstruction of the crime scene and identifying the suspects.
The paper provides an investigation into the Paris Attack. This was an act of terrorism that was committed by ISIL which is a terror group with extremist beliefs and anti-western ideals mostly driven by hate. The explosions and the shooting left a of people dead with scores injured. The outlawed group is notorious for mass killings and beheadings. Its roots could be traced to Syria and Afghanistan.
An attack of international nature involving suspects from other countries is a complex matter that requires expertize and specialized investigative techniques in order to arrest and prosecute the criminals. It requires extensive investigation in order to know the suspects who planned the attack or whether there are accomplices within the country. Therefore, this paper will provide in-depth specialized investigation techniques that would be used to collect the evidence from the crime scene, interrogation of the suspects and eventually the process that would lead to prosecution.
The Case: Paris Terror Attack
The exact day of attack was 13 November, 2015 when crowd had gathered to attend the concert at the Bataclan concert which is located in the Eastern part of Paris. The revelers had gathered to see “Eagles of Death” a US rock band. In a shocking turn of events, explosions were heard and various gun shot with AK-47 fired to the crowd. The incidence occurred in a concert and stadium and led to the death of 130 people and wounding scores of them (Almasy, Meilhan, & Bittermann, 2015)
The terror attack was a series of coordinated attack which occurred at the concert, stadium and the restaurant. It was later followed with a series mass shooting at the cafes and restaurants by heavily armed gun men, it led to exchange of fire between the attackers and the police and some of them were shot while others blew themselves up. Out of the 130 people who were killed during the terrorist attack, 89 of them were shot at the concert and 100 were in critical condition. Seven of the attackers were killed on the scene of crime while the others managed to escape. The investigators began a search for the other suspects. The attack is considered to be among the deadliest attack ever committed on the French soil.
The group commonly known as ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) claimed responsibility for the attack and stated that it was retaliatory attack on French activities in Iraq and Syria. Some of the attackers were of Belgian or French nationalities, while others were Syrians and two Iraqis.
Whether specialized units or officers are used to address the case
The terrorist activity that occurred is a transnational crime which is a serious offence under the international law since it threatens international peace. From the nature of attack it was something that was well planned and executed. In addition, sophisticated weapons were used in shooting. Specialized officers would be required in investigation and gathering of evidence.
In this regard a specialized unit known as RAID (French Police unit will assist in investigation and trailing the suspects. RAID is an elite special force of the French police that is mandated with the responsibility to counter and investigate any form of terrorism, protection of sites, conducting surveillance and subsequent arrest of the high profile criminals , offering assistance to the police force and also reviewing new techniques and equipment’s.
Therefore in the present case of the terrorist attack, RAID will assist in doing a follow up operation in St- Denise in order to arrest of the key suspect identified as Abdelhamid Abaaoud who is believed to be the mastermind of the attack and other suspect who have fled the scene. is RAID is categorized into intelligence group, technical group and the weaponry group. Their assistance would be valuable due to specialized training and expertized they possess. The suspect may have fled out of the jurisdiction therefore thy will be able to efficiently coordinate with their counterparts in other jurisdiction to arrest them.
In this vein, the investigation will adopt a collaborative approach I will deal mostly with the duty of securing the scene and gathering the evidence. This special unit will be trailing some of them suspect in view of capturing them before they flee the jurisdiction.
The Strategies: Articulate the course of action, techniques, and resources you would utilize as a lead investigator to address the following:
Documenting the crime scene
Documentation of the crime scene is a critical step that would assist greatly in unraveling the identity of the attackers. As the first officer on the scene of attack, “Bataclan concert hall” my first responsibility will be to secure and protect the crime scene; I will in this case, use the crime scene tape to secure the area that has been affected by the explosion and the shootings. I will ensure i maintain the control of the crime scene and the crowd and also make sure that the witnesses and other people who are in the crime scene do not leave. (Gardner & Bevel, 2009)
Since it is a terrorist attack, I will call for assistance from the special unit and maintain contact with the main office. Among the first responsibility would be to identify the witnesses and the suspects. I will record in my field notes, the condition of the crime scene as I have found it, I will note the extent of the damage in the concert hall, noting the entry point of the attackers and call the forensic experts to assist in doing the investigations. I will secure the integrity of the crime scene by minimizing entry and exiting. (Gardner & Bevel, 2009)
I will photograph the crime scene; I will take several photos of the crime scene in different locations. I will ensure that I take the relevant images of the crime scene which will include taking photos that will capture different perspectives of the crime scene. It will be a medium view, close view and the overall view of the crime scene.
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Gathering evidence (procedures, chain of custody, cataloging)
I will gather the evidence in a careful and systematic manner. I will start by doing a preliminary crime scene survey. I will record the scene location, the interior and the exterior of the hall where the explosion occurred. The weather conditions and whether it can affect the scene of crime In addition, I would use the appropriate equipment’s when doing the investigation for instance; I will wear latex gloves when collecting the different types of evidence. (In Horswell, 2004)
I will take time at the primary crime scene which is the place or area where the offence occurred. In the present case the place of the explosion and where the bodies of the victims are. I will also carefully analyze the secondary crime scene, the victim’s body, the vehicles used in the attacks, the weapon used e.tc and record them.
At the crime scene I will use various techniques in order to gather the evidence. First, I will gather the fingerprints evidence of the suspects; the fingerprint evidence will be used in searching the details of the suspects in large database. The other type of evidence that I will collect at the scene of the crime would be the ”DNA” , I will collect the blood samples, saliva, hair , perspiration , seminal stain or any other biological evidence these evidence are more accurate types of evidence that will be used to identify the suspects. (Holden, 2007)
Other evidence is the firearm evidence, the attacker used bullets. This type of evidence will be used to link where the weapon originated and the person who bought the weapons. The body of one of the attacker would also be critical evidence which can be used identify the identity and nationality of the suspect. (Fisher & Fisher, 2012)
Later, I will inventory all the various types of evidence that is recovered at the scene of crime and properly packaged before it can leave the scene of crime this would help in preventing the loss or contamination of evidence before it leaves the crime scene. Additionally, I will mark all the evidence if possible and I will also mark the outer packaging of the evidence. (Holden, 2007)
In marking the evidence recovered in the scene of crime, I will record the date the matter occurred, I will also record my name and initials and I will dispatch to the investigating agency at the office.
The chain of custody is defined as the process where the evidence is transferred from one investigator to the other. (Khan, Buisman, & Gosnell, 2015, p. 294) I will establish the chain of custody by doing the following taking notes, itemizing all the evidence that have been recovered at the crime scene, sealing the evidence, creating an inventory list, and also preparing the chain of custody inventory.
The interviewing is the most important and critical stage in the investigation. Through interviewing the investigator is able to get the crucial facts relating to the case which would assist him/her to know the suspects. In this context it involves interviewing the witness, victims and the suspects and it involves the highest stands of professionalism.
The first people to interview will be the witness who saw the actual explosion taking place. They must have witnessed the actual explosion and the gun attack and can recount the events when called upon. The second people would be the victims themselves who were attending the concert, the would narrate what happened during that day, the time the attack took place , the approximate number of people who were attending the concert, if they can describe the physical appearance or can recognize the attackers. I will record all these information and the number of victims who were affected by the attack and also the number of people who have passed way.
The third person interview will be the suspect, I will use the reid technique which is a two stage interview process, first I will interview the suspect in a non-confrontational manner. This would enable me to ascertain whether the suspects are lying or telling the truth. In this case , I will be asking the suspect non-accusatory questions, if there is reasonable suspicion that they have committed the offence, I would take them to actual interrogation and question them about their role in the attack using other evidence to extract favorable response from them which can sustains a criminal prosecution. If the evidence is overwhelming, I will take him into custody. (Kassin, Appleby, & Perillo, 2010)
Two reporting formats may be used in this case. The first is by preparing a crime scene report which in this case, would be used detail the crime scene activities. I will prepare this report in compliance with the rules of the police department. And later I will use to prepare the final report. The other type of reporting will be the laboratory where the evidence recovered from the crime scene will be analyzed and then a report will be made from it.
Implications for the prosecution of a criminal case
The evidence collected will be important in trailing the movements of the two suspects and prosecuting them for the offence of mass killings and also injuring a lot of people. Terrorist is a criminal offence under the national and international law and the suspects must be brought to books.
Therefore, the evidence that has been recovered from the crime scene is important and has identifies the two remaining suspects as Salah Abdeslam and Mohammed Abrini. The ring leader who died on the scene is Belgian international identified as Abdelhamid Abaaoud.
The investigation detailed here will be important in unraveling the crime and arresting the suspects who are on the loose. For example, we would link up all the evidence available to disclose the identity of the suspect e.g the CCTV evidence, the DNA evidence, fingerprint and the investigation which would be important in disclosing the identity of the suspect.
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- Fisher, B. A., & Fisher, D. (2012). Techniques of crime scene investigation. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
- Gardner, R. M., & Bevel, T. (2009). Practical crime scene analysis and reconstruction. Boca Raton: CRC Press.
- Holden, H. M. (2007). To be a crime scene investigator. St. Paul, MN: Motorbooks International.
- In Horswell, J. (2004). The practice of crime scene investigation. Boca Raton [etc.: CRC Press.
- Kassin, S. M., Appleby, S. C., & Perillo, J. T. (2010). Interviewing suspects: Practice, science, and future directions. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 15(1), 39-55. doi:10.1348/135532509×449361
- Khan, K. A., Buisman, C., & Gosnell, C. (2015). Principles of evidence in international criminal justice.