The role of jurisdiction on persistence of torture in Turkey and public reflections.Torture. 2008; 18(1):51-5.T
Torture still is a serious problem in Turkey. There has been a very effective struggle against torture, particularly for effective documentation by health professionals. The Istanbul Protocol has been taken into consideration by the ministry of health, and procedural safeguards with standardized medicolegal documentation had been a part of daily medicolegal practice. However, measures taken on the basis of effective documentation is not sufficient without effective investigation of which the role of jurisdiction is most prominent. Impunity is highly responsible for the persistence of torture, although procedural safeguards on medical examination and medicolegal documentation have had an influence for the decrease of the total number of cases. The Anatolia Agency had distributed information on the total number of punishments in 2007, which drew a more hopeful picture with 5,082 punishments among 33,000 law enforcement officials who had been taken to court. Nevertheless, a press conference held by the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey revealed that this information was not true. They revealed that the cases taken to the court were mostly because of ill treatment instead of torture, and a great majority of these officers had been acquitted between the years 1989-2005. Administrative measures had also been highly insufficient, and among 922 personnel who had been under investigation, only 8 of them had had punishment. The Human Rights Association has had a research on impunity, and only 15% of law enforcement officials who had been taken to the court were ever convicted of their crimes, and all of these punishments had been suspended. Research on cognitive behaviour of judges and prosecutors revealed that they think human rights might threaten the security of the state. This result only clarifies the cause of impunity, thus persistence of torture. The Istanbul University Istanbul Faculty of Medicine, Department of Forensic Medicine, has an outpatient clinic in which torture survivors are examined, and alternative medicolegal documentation is carried out. These patients who were able to have a medicolegal document are observed to benefit from psychotherapy, thus impunity should not only be surmounted for the eradication of torture, but also the healing of the wounds of torture survivors.