Juliusbaxter en en.wikipedia [CC-BY-3.0 (], vía Wikimedia Commons

On November 4, 2010, Aero Caribbean 7L883 crashed near the city of Guasimal in the province of Sancti Spiritus in Cuba. All 68 passengers and crew were killed. Responding to a request from the Cuban authorities for Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) assistance, an INTERPOL-ICMP assessment team arrived in Havana on November 11, 2010.

The Cuban authorities had employed a range of identification methods, including finger prints, and odontological and orthopedic references. In 30 cases, DNA analysis was conducted.

The assessment team commended the authorities on managing a considerable amount of data collected through forensic investigative work. The team also noted that a standardized data management system was unavailable, which contributed to difficulties with integrating data that the Cuban authorities received from third countries. The assessment team called attention to INTERPOL DVI standards, in particular with regard to the use of primary identifiers.  The team noted that a policy of using primary identifiers only for confirmation purposes risks setting the stage for disproportionately intrusive forensic investigations.

The INTERPOL/ICMP assessment team offered support by:

  • Making available standard operating procedures on PM DNA sampling;
  • AM reference DNA collection kits as had been shipped by ICMP;
  • Providing training on-site with regard to the above; and
  • Transferring all data collected to a standardized data processing system.