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Medicina Legal de Costa Rica

On-line version ISSN 2215-5287Print version ISSN 1409-0015


PETERSEN, Hans Draminsky  and  RASMUSSEN, Ole Vedel. Evaluación médica de testimonios de tortura y participación de los médicos en la tortura. Med. leg. Costa Rica [online]. 1995, vol.11-12, n.2-1, pp.20-28. ISSN 2215-5287.

Today, torture is used in more than 90 countries, In most of theses countries, the authorities try to conceal the use of torture. Therefore torture methods which do not leave marks are more often selected. Consequently, appraisal of statements of torture is mostly based on interviewss with exprisoners. The statement of torture is compared with the description of symptoms found after the prison period and with the results of the cinical examination, which is often normal. In the evaluation of the validity of a statement reservations often have to be madre for minor disagreements between the single elements of the examination, for example because of impaired concentration during the examinaiton and loss of concluousness during the torture. Furthemore, the statement may be incompelte because of psychological inhibitions and imperfect interpretation. Assessment of allegations of medical involvemnet in torture is also bases on information given by the ex-detainee. The presumed doctor's examination techniques and the treatment carried out and prescribed by him, are compared with the context in which he acted. Only very rarely do torture victims have marks from e. G. Injections or suturing which can be related to medical treatment in torture centres. The critical evaluation of data collected during in-depth interviews with torture victims is the core of documentaiton of torture and medical involvement in torture. The national medical asociations share the responsability of ensuring that their country's doctors comply with the ethical rules and do not in any way participate in or omit to report torture.

Keywords : Human rights; torture; testimony; physicians role.

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