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Criminalistics--Scientia Sui Generis--Arguments Pro et Contra (From Policing in Central and Eastern Europe: Dilemmas of Contemporary Criminal Justice, P 372-379, 2004, Gorazd Mesko, et al., eds. -- See NCJ-207973)

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2004
8 pages

This paper examines the various conceptions of criminalistics within various models of criminal justice and considers its status as a science in modern society.


The paper first identifies three models of criminalistics that have been respectively adopted in Roman countries, Germany and Russia, and in Anglo-Saxon countries. In Roman countries, Italy for example, criminalistics does not have the status of a stand-alone science or discipline. Rather, it is viewed as the application of the content and methods of other sciences in the field of investigating and processing criminal offenses. In countries influenced by German and Russian law, criminalistics is recognized as a separate discipline of crime research with defined objectives and research methods. In Anglo-Saxon countries, particularly the United States, criminalistics comes under the umbrella of the broader field of forensic sciences. Criminalistics involves the detection, collection, identification, separation, and evaluation of material traces of crime, using scientific techniques in the service of the goals of a particular criminal justice system. The latter two models lend themselves to the elevation of criminalistics to the status of an emancipated discipline and science. Although some argue that criminalistics is more of a discipline than a science since it relies on the research and findings of other sciences, it is no less a science than medicine, which also relies on the knowledge bases of other sciences. Criminalistics uses the scientific method to integrate and test the relevance of other sciences to the enterprise of detecting, solving, and even preventing crime. In modern society, criminalistics will increasingly expand its body of knowledge and techniques for countering the various types of crime that will emerge. 13 references

Date Published: September 1, 2004