Chile’s Justice Ministry has allocated CLP$513 million to better comply with the Istanbul Protocol that regulates the documentation of human rights violations. The funds are for expert assessments on violations during the social outbreak. Overall, 900 cases will benefit from the funding.
The Justice Ministry will allocate CLP$513 million (US$700,000) to the Legal Medical Service (SML), a public entity dealing with legal consequences of physical and psychological harm. Most of the funds will pay for a plan to commission expert reports on possible human rights violations committed during the mass protests that started in October 2019.
Another part of the funding is for optimizing processes linked to mental health related reports by hiring experts and adding more shifts. This would include a team of 130 professionals to assemble psychological evidence related to other human rights violations and sexual abuse.
Justice minister Hernán Larraín said in a press release that “for our government it has always been a priority to clear up and investigate possible human rights violations cases, so that the court can punish those responsible.” The funds will finance expert assessments in over 900 cases before November and which are already being processed.
The Istanbul Protocol refers to guidelines UN members agreed in 2000 to investigate and document torture and other crimes against humanity. Lawyers, doctors and psychologists can use this tool to recognize and document the long-term effects individuals experience after having been subjected to human rights violations. Cases can then be better presented during a trial as the protocol standardizes evidence-gathering.
President Sebastián Piñera has promised this measure during his last state-of-the nation speech. He also announced a committee to reopen investigations that were dismissed but remained ambiguous.
Javiera is from Santiago de Chile, she is studying journalism at Universidad de Chile, since 2017 and doing her internship at Chile Today.