INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FORENSIC INVESTIGATORS
CODE OF ETHICS AND CONDUCT
ARTICLE 1.- THE CODE OF ETHICS AND CONDUCT: Is used to promote the highest quality of personal and professional behavior of members and affiliates (professional, students, etc.) of the International Association of Forensic Investigators, any member supporting, adhering to or accepting the code of ethics, is bound to uphold it in accordance to the following principles.
I.- Members and affiliates shall abstain from conducting themselves, in both their personal and professional lives, in ways that are contrary to the interests and objectives of the IAFI. These objectives include promoting education and research in the field of forensic science, promoting studies, enhancing processes and practices, elevating standards and promoting the advancement of forensic science in general.
II.- Members and affiliates shall not have a criminal record. If a member or affiliate is arrested for presumably committing a crime or misdemeanor, his membership will be suspended awaiting the outcome of the legal proceeding. If convicted, membership will be revoked.
III.- No member or affiliate of the IAFI shall distribute or present false or unprecise information regarding education, training, experience, skills, area of expertise or status as a member of the Academy.
IV.- No member or affiliate of the IAFI shall present or distribute false or unprecise data or scientific principles on which his or her conclusion, report or professional opinion are based.
V.- Members and affiliates shall give credit to the work and ideas of others.
VI.- Members shall maintain an attitude of independence and promote non-biased analysis and interpretation.
VII.- Members will provide opinions and conclusions strictly based on known facts and evidence.
VIII.- No member shall abuse his/her position as a professional for fraudulent purposes or as an excuse to obtain information about an individual, group, organization or government entity.
IX.- Members shall not practice outside their area of expertise.
X.- Members will recognize their knowledge and scientific limitations, within their area of expertise, on any professional opinion or testimony. They will make sure these limitations are expressed clearly to avoid false impressions on their findings or certainty.
XI.- Members shall not use their position of authority to exploit or coerce students or subordinates to perform or avoid any type of activity.
XII.- Members shall recognize their obligation to maintain ethical standards within the professional community and will assess the need to report any misconduct to the authorities.
XIII.- No member or affiliate of the IAFI shall distribute information, provide statements, or publish opinions, that appear as being made or supported by IAFI, nor use IAFI´s image, name, logos without prior authorization from the Board.
XIV.- IAFI members shall abstain from comments or negative opinions about any organization or individual, especially about individuals or organizations related to forensic science or forensic practice. AIIF supports respect to any individual or organization.
XV.- Upon signing the IAFI´s membership form, potential members adhere to our code of ethics, including sanctions that they might be subject to for violating the code of ethics or IAFI´s rules or regulations, as well as any publicity of these sanctions.
XVI.- IAFI members, as most people, have social network, discussion forums, blogs, chats, professional social network and other mass media accounts, and might also have personal or business web pages, IAFI does not censor or limit freedom of expression amongst its members, however, negative, inappropriate, defamatory or derogatory comments that might reflect unacceptable social or cultural behavior, affect IAFI´s image. When and if this happens, an investigation will be conducted by IAFI´s Committee on Ethics and Professionalism, if found responsible a member might face suspension or expulsion from our organization and his / her sanction will be publicized by all means available to the International Association of Forensic Investigators.
ARTICLE 2.– MEMBER AND AFFILIATE ACCOUNTABILITY: Any member or affiliate found in violation of Article 1 of IAFI´s ethics code, will be subject to suspension or expulsion by the Board through a Disciplinary Analysis Procedure.
ARTICLE 3.– INVESTIGATION UNIT: An Ethics Committee will be formed and its main objectives are:
I.- To order and /or conduct investigations and, if necessary, hold the necessary hearings to analyze a member or affiliate´s behavior that might constitute a violation of Article 1.
II.- Act as a consulting entity, providing opinion with respect to the actions of members or affiliates considered to be in violation of Article 1.
ARTICLE 4.– INVESTIGATION: The Ethics Committee will initiate an investigation:
I.- If a member or affiliate presents a written complaint in which he mentions possible violations to Article 1. This complaint may be mailed to IAFI´s addressed to the Ethics Committee Chair. The complaint must be presented as son as the violation is known.
II.- The Ethics Committee may start the proceeding based on any evidence that requires attention and which is obtained by any means, if the committee´s opinion is that the matter requires an investigation or action on behalf of the Committee to safeguard IAFI´s interests.
ARTICLE 5.– RULES AND PROCEDURES: The following procedures will be followed when knowledge of inappropriate conduct on behalf of a member or affiliate is known:
I.- Any Complaint against a member or affiliate will be immediately sent to the Ethics Committee Chair.
II.- The Ethics Committee will determine if the complaint is valid and if it falls under its jurisdiction.
III.- If the Ethics Committee preliminary decision determines that it has no jurisdiction, or that there is no validity to the complaint, it will close the investigation, providing a report of this decision to the board citing the facts but, not disclosing the names of the parties involved and also citing the reason for closing the case. The defendant will be notified about the accusation but the name of the complainant will be kept secret until the formal proceeding begins. If the case is dismissed, the complainant´s name will remain with the Ethics Committee and it will not be made available to the defendant. The decision of opening the proceeding or closing the investigation will be notified to all parties involved.
IV.- If the Ethics Committee acknowledges to have jurisdiction, regarding the complaint, and finds that it is well founded, it will notify the parties involved about the proceeding and will provide the defendant with a copy of the complaint to prepare his defense. The Committee will gather the necessary information to define its course of action and to found its decision.
V.- The Ethics Committee will name a member of the board who will investigate the complaint and gather evidence for the committee.
VI.- If based on the results of the investigation, the Ethics Committee decides to dismiss the complaint, without a formal hearing, it may do so notifying both all parties involved of its decision and a report will be sent to the Board regarding this decision but, not disclosing the names of the parties involved and also citing the reason for closing the case,
VII.- If the Ethics Committee decides to hold a formal hearing, the defendant will state his case before the committee, the complainant will have the same opportunity. After the hearing, the committee will notify both parties of its decision and will send a copy to the board. If the committee finds that the complaint is valid and that a violation to the Code of Ethics and Conduct has occurred, the report will include the reason for the committee´s decision and will make recommendations to the board on sanctions to be imposed.
VIII.- If the Committee makes a decision regarding inappropriate conduct from a member or affiliate, this decision will be sent to the Board, which will ratify it, modify it or revoke it. If the Board ratifies the Committee´s decision, a decision will be made to suspend or expel the member or affiliate.
IX.- The member or affiliate found responsible may appeal the board´s decision, this process requires a written document citing the grievances and requesting that the decision be revoked, the appeal must be presented before the Board´s secretary before IAFI´s annual meeting, the complaint will be presented to the Board of Directors will vote for ratifying it or to revoke it.
X.- The Board will prepare a written report citing the reason for its decision and will present it to the Board´s secretary before the annual meeting.
XI.- Within twenty days after receiving the Board´s decision, the secretary will send a copy of the appeal and Board´s decision to each voting member of the IAFI.
XII.- The vote of at least two thirds of the voting members present at the annual meeting will be required to revoke the Board´s decision related to the suspension or expulsion of a member or affiliate.
XIII.- No member or affiliate under investigation by the Ethics Committee or with a conflict of interest will participate in any part of the case investigated by the Board or the Ethics Committee.
XIV.- The Ethics Committee will procure an expeditious, just, discrete and impartial handling of the cases presented before it.
ARTICLE 6 – SUSPENSION AND EXPULSION OF MEMBERS OR AFFILIATES: The suspension of a member or affiliate found responsible for violations of the Code of Ethics and Conduct may be from three months to a year, when it concludes the member or affiliate might request his or her reinstatement to the IAFI. An expelled member may not request his reinstatement. In case of severe infractions to the Code of Ethics and Conduct, which are evident or pose risk to the Association or its members or affiliates, Founding Associates may expel a member without requiring a proceeding, making its decision known to the Board of Directors and Society in general.