Statement on access to relevant medical and other health records and relevant legal records for forensic medical evaluations of alleged torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
In some jurisdictions attempts have been made to limit or deny access to medical records for victims of torture seeking remedy or reparations or for individuals who have been accused of crimes based on confessions allegedly extracted under torture. The following article describes the importance of full disclosure of all medical and other health records, as well as legal documents, in any case in which an individual alleges that they have been subjected to torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment. A broad definition of what must be included in the terms medical and health records is put forward, and an overview of why their full disclosure is an integral part of international standards for the investigation and documentation of torture (the Istanbul Protocol). The fact that medical records may reveal the complicity or direct participation of healthcare professionals in acts of torture and other ill-treatment is discussed. A summary of international law and medical ethics surrounding the right of access to personal information, especially health information in connection with allegations of torture is also given.
Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, 2013, Vol 20, Issue 3, p. 158-63
Access to Information; Documentation; Ethics, Professional; Forensic Medicine; Humans; International Cooperation; Medical Records; Security Measures; Torture; United Nations