Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
This manual was developed to enable States to address one of the most fundamental concerns in protecting individuals from torture—effective documentation. Such documentation brings evidence of torture and ill-treatment to light so that perpetrators may be held accountable for their actions and the interests of justice may be served. The documentation methods contained in this manual are also applicable to other contexts, including human rights investigations and monitoring, political asylum evaluations, the defence of individuals who “confess” to crimes during torture and needs assessments for the care of torture victims, among others. In the case of health professionals who are coerced into neglect, misrepresentation or falsification of evidence of torture, this manual also provides an international point of reference for health professionals and adjudicators alike.
During the past two decades, much has been learned about torture and its consequences, but no international guidelines for documentation were available prior to the development of this manual. The Istanbul Protocol: Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment is intended to serve as international guidelines for the assessment of persons who allege torture and ill-treatment, for investigating cases of alleged torture and for reporting findings to the judiciary or any other investigative body. This manual includes principles for the effective investigation and documentation of torture, and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (see annex I). These principles outline minimum standards for States in order to ensure the effective documentation of torture. The Principles on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment are annexed to General Assembly resolution 55/89 of 4 December 2000 and to Commission on Human Rights resolution 2000/43 of 20 April 2000, both adopted without a vote. The guidelines contained in this manual are not presented as a fixed protocol. Rather, they represent minimum standards based on the principles and should be used taking into account available resources.
The manual and principles are the result of three years of analysis, research and drafting, undertaken by more than 75 experts in law, health and human rights, representing 40 organizations or institutions from 15 countries. The conceptualization and preparation of this manual was a collaborative effort between forensic scientists, physicians, psychologists, human-rights monitors and lawyers working in Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Israel, the Netherlands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the occupied Palestinian territories.