Chile

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Chile adopted legislation in 2004 to set up five different DNA databases (for individuals suspected of certain serious crimes, people convicted of those crimes, victims of such crimes, crime scenes, and the "disappeared"). Suspects records are transferred to the convicted persons' database or deleted if not convicted.

Law No. 19,970, in force since 25 November 2008, allows progressive collection of the five different registers, with priority given to prisoners. A new laboratory was opened in October 2010 to speed up the analysis of samples.

A supreme court judgment in 2012 excluded young offenders from the registry.

The FBI assisted Chile by providing CODIS software and supporting database development.

Resources

Detailed analysis

Law No. 19970

Regulations of Law No. 19970

CCP §§ 198, 199, 199b


The Chilean System of National DNA Databases (Sistema Nacional de Registros de AND) (hereinafter “SNDD”) was legally established on October 6, 2004.[1] In principle, the SNDD is divided into five different databases, each containing the genetic profiles from a different source: (1) individuals convicted of certain serious crimes (Registro de Condenados); (2) individuals suspected of and/or charged with said serious crimes (Registro de Imputados); (3) unidentified biological material collected at crime scenes (Registro de Evidencias y Antecedentes); (4) victims of said serious crimes (Registro de Víctimas); and (5) individuals executed (“disappeared”) by Chile’s former authoritarian government and their potential relatives (Registro de Desaparecidos y sus Familiares).[2] Due to insufficient institutional infrastructure and administrative regulation, the SNDD did not become operational until November 25, 2008.[3] The SNDD operates using the CODIS software, donated by the FBI in accordance with a joint-cooperation agreement between Chile and the United States.[4]

The Offender Database (Registro de Condenados) contains the genetic profiles of individuals who have been convicted of certain crimes, listed in the statute establishing the database.[5] In addition to these enumerated offences warranting inclusion in the SNDD, the law provides that the court, either at the request of the prosecutor or upon its own initiative, may order the genetic profile of anyone convicted of any crime be included in the Convicted Database.[6] Profiles included in this database are retained for a period of thirty years, irrespective of the offender’s intervening death, parole, or release.[7]

The Defendant/Suspect Database (Registro de Imputados) includes the genetic profiles of individuals who have been charged with any crimes if convicted of which would warrant their inclusion in the Convicts Database.[8] In the case of the Offender Database and the Defendant/Suspect Database, individuals are compelled to provide genetic samples for analysis. The law is ambiguous as to how the samples are to be collected or what level of suspicion is required before a sample may be obtained.[9] The law creating the SNDD both references preexisting portions of the Code of Criminal Procedure covering bodily examinations of suspects, but also amends other sections of that same code.[10] The genetic profiles in the Defendant/Suspect Database are to be either deleted or transferred to the Offender database, depending on the outcome of the associated criminal process.[11] The Evidence Database (Registro de Evidencias y Antecedentes) is comprised of genetic profiles that have been obtained in the course of any criminal investigation.[12] These profiles are kept for thirty years or until they are identified.[13]

Unlike either the Offender or the Defendant/Suspect Databases, the law does not compel any victim to provide a genetic sample for inclusion in the Victims Database.[14] Victims have an affirmative right to be informed of their right to refuse to be included in the Victims Database.[15] Furthermore, any genetic evidence collected that is known to belong to a victim cannot be analyzed until the prosecutor has obtained that victim’s express permission.[16] The profiles of victims who opt for inclusion in the Victims Database are kept until the perpetrator(s) of the crime at hand are identified.[17]

Finally, the Database of the Disappeared (Registro de Desaparecidos y sus Familiares) contains the genetic profiles of unidentified human remains or biological material from persons presumably “disappeared.”[18] It also includes genetic profiles volunteered by persons believing themselves to be related to the “disappeared.”[19] These profiles are kept until they are identified.[20]


1. In April 2008 the police of Conceptión collected DNA samples from two thousand public school children under age twelve without cause or parental consent. This action was ordered by the mayor of Conceptión, Jacqueline van Rysselberghe, citing merely “child safety” as grounds.[21]


2. The Chilean government has adopted a “prioritized” DNA sampling policy, by which it has specifically targeted incarcerated individuals of the Mapuche people. These individuals, considered political prisoners by the Machupe—a native minority within Chile with a history of resistance to Chilean claims to their land—have been singled out for inclusion in the Offenders Database on the basis of their ethnicity.[22]




  1. Ley Nº 19.970, de 10 septiembre de 2004, D.O. de 06.10.2004 (“Crea el Sistema Nacional de Registros de ADN”) (Chile)
  2. See supra note 392.
  3. Press Release, Servicio Médico Legal, Ministro de Justicia Visitó Dependencias de Servicio Médico Legal [Minister of Justice visited the Forensic Medicine Service Units], Feb. 20, 2008, http://www.sml.cl/portal/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=52&Itemid=24 (describing the institutional preparations undertaken to accommodate the SNDD); Fiscal Nacional del Ministerio Público [Office of the Public Prosecutor], Orientaciones para la aplicación de la ley 19.970 que creó el Sistema Nacional de Registro de AND [Guidelines for implementation of the law 19,970 which created the National Register AND], Document No. 017 (Jan. 7, 2005) (noting that the operation of the SNDD was deferred until the government promulgated regulations governing its implementation and operation); see also Drecho 634 de 10 septiembre de 2008 (adopting regulations governing SDNN).
  4. CITE
  5. Art. 17, Ley Nº 19.970, de 10 septiembre de 2004, establishes conviction of any of the following crimes as grounds for inclusion within the Offender Database: Código Penal, Libro Segundo, Title VIII, §§ 1 and 2 (murder, infanticide) and Title VII, §§ 1, 5, 6 and 7 (abortion, rape, statutory rape and other sexual crimes); also Código Penal §§ 141 (kidnapping), 142 (child abduction), 150A & 150B (torture), 296 (“threats”), 313 (manufacture or sale of adulterated or deteriorated medicinal substances), 315 (poisoning a public water supply), 316 (spreading of pathogens), 348 (child neglect resulting in serious injury or death), 352 (neglect of the poor), 395 (castration), 396 (mutilation), 397 (causing serious injury), 401 (causing less serious injuries in aggravating circumstances), 403 (sending explosives in the mail ), 433 (second degree robbery by violence and intimidation), 436 (first degree robbery by violence and intimidation), 440 (home burglary), 474 to 476 (arson), and 480 (mayhem).
  6. See supra note 392, § 17(c) (providing that a competent court, upon an individual’s conviction for any crime, in consideration of the personal background of the individual, and the nature, methods and motivation behind the crime, may compel that individual to provide a genetic sample from which a genetic profile will be generated and included in the SNDD)
  7. See supra note 392.
  8. See supra note 396.
  9. CITE
  10. CITE
  11. See supra note 392.
  12. See supra note 392.
  13. See supra note 392.
  14. See supra note 392.
  15. Id.
  16. Id.
  17. Id.
  18. Id.
  19. Id.
  20. Id.
  21. Mauricia Becerra & Margaux Collet, ADN: El Estado Va por tus Genes [DNA: The State Goes for your Genes], El Ciudadano, Nov. 6, 2008.
  22. Pedro Cayuqueo, Gobierno Chileno Impulsa Registro de ADN de Presos Políticos Mapuches [Chilean government promotes DNA register Mapuche political prisoners], available at http://www.alainet.org/active/28694 (Jan. 28, 2009); Pedro Cayuquero, Mapuches Interponen Recurso de Protección contra Gendarmería por Registro de ADN de Líder Recluido [Mapuche Seek Protection Against Police Efforts to Obtain DNA from their Imprisoned Leader], El Ciudadano, Feb. 7, 2009.