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JOINT ACTION AGAINST TORTURE-CONTRIBUTION TO IDENTIFICATION AND DOCUMENTING OF TORTURE

Ministry of Justice of Montenegro, Council for Civil Control of the Police and nongovernmental foundation “Civic Alliance” jointly presented the first Montenegrin edition of the Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

“Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment” known as Istanbul Protocol was finalized in 1999 and represents the recognized United Nations document that promotes the guidelines of responsibility and obligations for efficient investigations and reporting about the reports on torture and ill-treatment.

The Manual is envisaged as the guide for assessment of persons at risk, who claimed they were tortured and maltreated, as well as for investigating the alleged cases of torture and submitting the evidenced to judicial bodies and other investigative bodies.

Manual is the result of years long analytical and research work of more than 75 forensic scientists, doctors, psychologists, human rights supervisors and lawyers from 40 organizations and institutions from 15 different countries.

The Manual is composed of introduction, six chapters and annex.

The introduction defines torture, which has been recognized as a major concern of the international community. “Torture affects all members of the family, because family is the meaning of our existence and hope for a brighter future.” The Manual is an international reference point and is developed to “enable countries to face one of the most fundamental problems of protecting individuals from torture – by documenting it effectively”.

The first chapter deals with relevant international standards, the second deals with relevant codes of ethics, with particular reference to health ethics, while the third chapter in details represents the legal investigation of torture cases. Chapter four is devoted to principles of communication with a victim of torture. The fifth chapter deals with the physical evidence of torture and the sixth chapter deals with the psychological evidence of torture.

The annexes outline the principles of efficient investigation and documentation of torture, diagnostic tests, anatomical schemes for documenting torture, and guidelines for medical evaluation of torture.

With this activity, Montenegro reaffirms its commitment to contribute to eradication of all types of abuse and torture, through the full openness and cooperation of the state institutions and civil society. The intention is to strengthen and support the implementation of the principles and guidelines of the Istanbul Protocol in Montenegro, in order to advance the documentation and investigation of torture.

The Istanbul Protocol emphasizes the importance of the role of doctors in assessing the physical and psychological consequences of torture.

The joint prologue of the Montenegrin edition is signed by Zoran Pažin, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice, Milan Radović, Program Director of NGO “Civic Alliance”, and Aleksandar Saša Zeković, MA, President of the Council for Civil Control of the Police, who is also the editor of the edition. The coordinator of the joint initiative against torture is MD, Vladimir Dobričanin.

The publishers emphasized that the particular significance of this document lies in the fact that the lack of physical, visible evidence on the victim’s body should not be interpreted as if the abuse did not even happen, but a due attention should be given to adequate psychological examinations and assessments, because the models of torture are becoming more distorted and cunning with the increased cautiousness of perpetrators.

By publishing, the handbook supports the overall efforts of Montenegrin society to prevent, and adequately prosecute the cases of torture, which practically contributes to the everyday work of the attending doctors and to the continued development of public confidence in the health, security and criminal justice systems.

The Manual will be submitted to the health institutions in Montenegro, medical associations and associations, judges, state prosecutor’s offices, Institution for Enforcement of Criminal Sanctions, public libraries, academic institutions, members of the Parliament of Montenegro, civil society organizations, political parties and state institutions.

The Manual is available at the following links:

http://www.mpa.gov.me/biblioteka/brosure

http://kontrolapolicije.me/sites/default/files/library/files/ISTANBULSKI%20PROTOKOL%20web.pdf

https://gamn.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/GA-ISTANBULSKI-PROTOKOL.pdf