Development of interdisciplinary protocols on medico-legal documentation of torture: Sleep deprivation
Background: The use of psychological torture or torture methods that leave no visible marks (stealth torture) is on the increase in various contexts. However, the difficulties in the documentation of such methods should be recognized by lawyers and health professionals who may benefit from using research-based interdisciplinary instruments to improve their documentation for legal processes - in addition to the United Nations Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment (1999) (Istanbul Protocol). Objective: With the aim to develop additional instruments for the documentation of various psychological torture methods, this article explains the recommended methodology for such research-based interdisciplinary instruments and the process of developing the first example of this approach relating to sleep deprivation. Development and pilot testing of the Sleep Deprivation Protocol: The pilot-testing of the Protocol by lawyers in the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) has already yielded positive results. Conclusion: Further advanced documentation instruments, using medical evidence in non-torture contexts and legal research, should be developed to effectively identify and record other psychological torture methods.
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