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Purpose of Medical Evaluations

According to the Istanbul Protocol, the broad purpose of the medical evaluation is to establish the facts related to alleged incidents of torture (IP, §120). The purpose of the written or oral testimony of the physician is to provide expert opinion on the degree to which medical findings correlate with the patient’s allegation of abuse and to communicate effectively the physician’s medical findings and interpretations to the judiciary or other appropriate authorities. In addition, medical testimony often serves to educate the judiciary, other government officials and the local and international communities on the physical and psychological sequelae of torture. The examiner should be prepared to do the following (IP, §121):