Forensic DNA Databases in Hong Kong and China: A BRICS Comparative Perspective
22 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2018
Date Written: August 30, 2018
An overview of the use and development of Forensic DNA technologies and databases in the BRICS countries reveal the following: South Africa has been conducting DNA profiling since 1991 and established a DNA database in 1997, but it only recently promulgated legislation - the South African Criminal Law Forensic Procedures Amendment Act 37 of 2013 - for the formal recognition and regulation of its DNA database. In 2008, Russia adopted the National Genetic Registration, the Russia Federal Act N242-FZ, enabling Russian law enforcement to create genome record databases of convicted offenders. This Act only came into operation in 2010. Brazil, in turn, promulgated legislation (Law No. 12654) for the establishment and regulation of a DNA database and DNA profiling on May 28th, 2012, while India is still in the planning stages of its national DNA framework and enabling legislation (Draft Human Profiling Bill 2012), despite India already being well-established for performing DNA profiling for other jurisdictions in the Southeast Asia region. The primary focus of this article is on China and one of its special administrative regions, Hong Kong. First, a general introduction to Forensic DNA Typing will restate the rudiments on which the application of DNA technology in the realm of law enforcement and criminal justice is based. This background is necessary for the discussion on database design in the final part of the article. The Forensic DNA Databases and related legislative frameworks of China and Hong Kong will then be considered and the relevant scientific and legislative features contextualized. Finally, the article will explore two distinct features with regard to the database design of the Forensic DNA Databases of China and Hong Kong, namely the population size of DNA Databases and the possibilities for cross-border collaboration. The discussion here will be supplemented with references to related developments in BRICS countries as well as selected references and comparisons with jurisdictions having more developed Forensic DNA Databases, particularly that of the UK and the USA.
Keywords: Forensic Law, DNA Databases, BRICS, Law of Evidence, Human Rights, People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
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