Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 279–286 | Cite as

Documentation of torture and the Istanbul Protocol: applied medical ethics

  • Holger Furtmayr
  • Andreas Frewer
Scientific Contribution


The so-called Istanbul Protocol, a Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment was adopted by the United Nations soon after its completion in 1999 and since then has become an acknowledged standard for documenting cases of alleged torture and other forms of severe maltreatment. In 2009 the “Forum for medicine and human rights” at the Medical Faculty at the University Erlangen-Nuremburg has provided the first German edition of this manual. The article traces back the development of the protocol taking into account the general background as well as the factual occasion of its initiation. The main ethical and legal principles of the manual are introduced as well as the projects for implementing the rules provided in the protocol that have been carried out so far. From this the urgent need for implementation of the Istanbul Protocol guidelines also in Europe and in German-speaking countries and here not exclusively but especially within asylum procedures becomes clear.


Asylum Documentation Human rights violations Istanbul protocol Mistreatment Torture United Nations 



We would like to express our gratitude to the Staedtler-Foundation in Nuremberg for its support in creating an edition of the Istanbul Protocol. We would also like to give special thanks to Dr. Kerstin Krása (Erlangen), Prof. Thomas Wenzel (Wien) and Thomas Oberschmidt (Berlin) for the splendid cooperation in carrying out the project. We thank the administration of the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg and the Medical Faculty for their support of the “Forum for Medicine and Human Rights” connected to the Professorship for Medical Ethics at the Institute for the History of Medicine and Medical Ethics at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Geschichte und Ethik der MedizinFriedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-NürnbergErlangenGermany

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