Programs >
last updated:11/21/03
ICITAP: International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program
This site is no longer being updated. Please visit us at for the new version of "Just the Facts", which is nearing completion

Program description / Law | ICITAP by country

Program description Law
Through the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP), the Department of Justice provides training to police forces and judiciaries in the Western Hemisphere. It was created in 1986 to train police forces in Latin America, but has now expanded its work to other parts of the world. ICITAP has two main types of assistance programs working with police forces on international peacekeeping, and in emerging democracies.

ICITAP works in tandem with OPDAT (Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training), a Justice Department program offering administration of justice assistance.

ICITAP seeks to:

  1. Enhance investigative and forensic capabilities;
  2. Assist in development of training curricula for personnel;
  3. Improve administrative capabilities;
  4. Improve the relationship between the police and community; and
  5. Enhance their ability to respond to new crime and criminal justice issues.

ICITAP is not a military training program; it is a program for training civilian police and judicial functionaries. The program has, however, trained some police forces within, or under the authority of, defense ministries.

According to the State Department's 2000 Congressional Presentation for Foreign Operations, "Priority is given to countries in transition to democracy, where unique opportunities exist for major restructuring and refocusing of police and investigative resources toward establishment of a rule of law."1

ICITAP is authorized by section 534(b)(3) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (P.L. 87-195, or the "FAA"), as amended. This section permits the executive to create programs in Latin America and the Caribbean to assist in administration of justice.

Section 534(b)(3) is a legal exception to the general ban on police assistance enacted in section 660 of the FAA.

The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 and the International Narcotics Control Act of 1990 expanded ICITAP's legal mandate to include specialized assistance to Bolivia, Peru and Colombia. The Urgent Assistance for Democracy in Panama Act of 1990 provided authority and funding for large-scale civilian law enforcement assistance (otherwise outlawed by Section 660 above) in Panama. Section 122 of Public Law 102-166 extended this coverage to El Salvador.

Click to read the text of Section 534 of the FAA, also known as section 2346c of Title 22, U.S. Code. (From U.S. House of Representatives Internet Law Library)
Click to read the text of Section 660 of the FAA, also known as section 2420 of Title 22, U.S. Code. (From U.S. House of Representatives Internet Law Library)

ICITAP by country 2000-20033

Country Goal Funding
Bolivia ICITAP's assistance to Bolivia focused on implementation of the Criminal Code, academy and training development, and reform within the Bolivian National Police and has now ended.
FY00-03: $1,624,000
Colombia ICITAP's role in the Colombia Justice Sector Reform Project has consistently focused on training and development efforts aimed at strengthening the criminal investigative capabilities of Colombian law enforcement authorities. Having succeeded, over the years, in greatly expanding Colombia's forensic capabilities, aiding in the development of specialized investigative units, and guiding the development and implementation of a single investigative curriculum for all of Colombia's police training academies, ICITAP continues its assistance efforts in 2004 with the initiation of an ambitious training plan, designed to raise the professionalism of Colombian law enforcement and prepare the judicial police for pending judicial code reform (including the introduction of an accusatory trial system). Curriculum will include topics such as: collection of crime scene evidence, search warrants, airport/border checkpoints, taking witness statements, admissions made by defendants, expert witness testimony, management of surveillance evidence, photographic evidence, report writing, and methods for successfully presenting evidence in court. ICITAP is also working with various Colombian law enforcement agencies to develop a Deviant Criminal Behavioral Analysis and Investigative Unit, a nationwide anti-corruption campaign, and an emergency response capabilities within the Colombian National Police.
FY00-02: $23,361,661
Costa Rica ICITAP plans to use FY03 funds to improve Costa Rican law enforcement's ability to counter trafficking in persons. ICITAP's program in Costa Rica specifically targets sex tourism and child prostitution.
FY03: $400,013
Dominican Republic ICITAP has conducted an airport security assessment in the Dominican Republic.
FY00-03: $32,000
Ecuador ICITAP's program in Ecuador supports the Judicial Police and the Uniformed Police in their efforts to address rising crime and a growing sentiment of insecurity and is coordinated closely with NAS assistance. The major focus of ICITAP's program in Ecuador is to create a permanent and sustainable Judicial Police training academy.
FY 04 est.: 450,000 dollars
El Salvador ICITAP has been working in El Salvador since 1992, when, together with the United Nations, it helped El Salvador create and train a new, apolitical National Civilian Police (PNC) and an autonomous training center, the National Academy of Public Safety (ANSP). Once the PNC and ANSP were up and running, ICITAP assisted in the installation of automated information systems and a 9-1-1 system, leading to much improved crime response. Now that the PNC and ANSP have established proficiency and stability, ICITAP's efforts have shifted to focus on strengthening four basic areas: police management, police accountability, criminal investigations (including specialized crime units and procedures for evidence handling), and ANSP policies, procedures, and techniques.
FY00-03: $3,085,000
Guatemala ICITAP began providing criminal investigative training and assistance to Guatemala in 1986. Early in the program, ICITAP helped the National Civilian Police (PNC) establish a new PNC academy, strengthen PNC personnel, automate PNC information management systems, and improve transparency and accountability throughout the PNC. Currently, having completed its basic training and assistance goals in Guatemala, ICITAP has shifted the focus of its PNC project. In 2002, ICITAP established a first-line supervisory school within the PNC Academy. ICITAP has also begun to provide specialized training in auto theft investigation, particularly in Guatemala City. ICITAP continues to make progress with its Total Information Management System efforts and now emphasizes coordination between police, prosecution, and other criminal justice sector agencies.
FY00-03: $4,173,000
Honduras ICITAP's assistance in Honduras focused on improving organizational, administrative, and operational effectiveness within the Ministry of Public Security; assisting in the implementation and enforcement of newly enacted laws; developing the Ministry of Public Security's academy; and assisting in the development of a Frontier Police and has now ended.
FY00-03: $1,935,000
Nicaragua ICITAP's goal in Nicaragua is to assist in the implementation of Nicaragua's new Criminal Code (effective December 2002) by improving the investigative capacity of the National Police (PN). Specific areas of focus include the creation of specialized investigative units, automation of criminal information, and enhancement of the police academy's training capabilities.
FY00-03: $900,000
Panama No current program activity
FY00-03: $500,000
* Funds represent total amount available to us through interagency agreements.*

ICITAP by country 20002

Country Program goals 2000 estimate
Bolivia Assist police in implementing new criminal procedure code $750,000
Colombia Unify training curricula and structures of three investigative police organizations $750,000
Dominican Republic Modernize criminal justice system $1,000,000
Ecuador Assist development of investigative / prosecutive task forces $500,000
El Salvador Refine new police force's procedures for preventing and responding to the most commonly committed crimes $1,500,000
Guatemala Support the new police force's development, emphasizing its Criminal Investigations Service $2,000,000
Honduras Support implementation of the 1998 Police Law which separated the police from military control $1,000,000
Nicaragua Support police in implementation of new criminal and criminal procedure codes $1,000,000
Panama Integrate Technical Judicial Police into the criminal justice process $500,000
Venezuela Support implementation of new criminal procedure code $1,000,000
Total   $10,000,000


1 United States, Department of State, Congressional Presentation for Foreign Operations, Fiscal Year 2000, (Washington: Department of State: March 1999): 936.

2 Department of State, Congressional Presentation for Foreign Operations, Fiscal Year 2000 936-7.

3 Department of Justice, ICITAP IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN, Document obtained November 2003.


Search WWW Search

News and Analysis
Bases and Military Facilities

A project of the Latin America Working Group Education Fund in cooperation with the Center for International Policy and the Washington Office on Latin America

 Project Staff  Adam Isacson (Senior Associate CIP    Lisa Haugaard (LAWGEF Executive Director
  Joy Olson (WOLA Executive Director

back to top