Between April 23-25 in Nizhny Novgorod there was an international training on the Istanbul Protocol as a tool for investigating torture cases organized by the Committee Against Torture. We had the honour to welcome leading specialists in forensic medicine, practicing lawyers from Orenburg, Bashkiria, Mariy El, Chechnya in our city. Our trainers were international specialists from Turkey, Switzerland and Russia.
The Istanbul Protocol is a guidance on effective investigation and documentation of tortures and other types of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment. In course of three days of the seminar lawyers and doctors were looking for answers to concrete questions. The major goals of the seminar were to develop a clear understanding of the notion of tortures and how to document them effectively, to ensure mutual understanding between practicing lawyers, doctors and forensic medical experts, since quite often numerous factors hindering investigations of tortures are caused by insufficient awareness of legal and medical professionals about the peculiarities of each others’ work under torture cases; to improve qualification of specialists in the sphere of torture investigations.
The training was fruitful thanks to workshops which, besides lectures, gave lawyers and doctors a chance to go through various situations, find common solutions, thus showing habitual cases from a different angle. During the seminar these specialists gained mutual understanding; colleagues from different regions exchanged experience of solving numerous problems caused by the lack of direct communication between forensic medical experts and practicing lawyers.
Our Turkish guests prepared a large presentation covering leading methods of documenting, preventing and investigating tortures developed in Turkey and other countries, as well as methods of psychological support and general principles of working with victims of cruel and degrading treatment by state agents. Olga Shepeleva, expert of the Public Interest Law Institute told the participants about legal aspects of investigation and assessment of torture cases by the European Court of Human Rights and other international protection bodies.
Training participants emphasized the usefulness of such seminars saying that they had made numerous discoveries by looking at the subject through the eyes of other specialists. Training organizers hope that this event will give an impetus for usage of acquired knowledge in practice.