A group of specialists has given an effective, impartial explanation of the Minnesota Protocol on the Investigation of Potentially Unlawful Death from a forensic standpoint within the framework of I-CRIME.
The global pandemic has affected Legal Medicine Institutes, which is why I-CRIME, a project funded by the European Union, has supported the creation of the Covid Network. This network, led by specialists Duarte Nuno, president of the Ibero-American Network of Forensic Medicine and Forensic Science Institutions and Rafael Bañón, president of the Scientific Technical Committee of the Spanish Forensic Medical Board, includes the managers of Forensic Institutes that belong to the Central American Integration System (SICA), who have been sharing their experience of this situation in recent months.
Among the Network’s activities, two work sessions have been organised that focus on the Minnesota Protocol. During the sessions, specialists have looked at the protocol from its creation to its practical application, highlighting the problems faced by forensic institutes, particularly those that have arisen in relation to COVID19.
The Minnesota Protocol provides a comprehensive, shared platform for forensic investigators, pathologists, law enforcement officials, lawyers, prosecutors, presiding officers and NGOs to make accountability in the investigation of death under suspicious circumstances a worldwide reality. It seeks to guarantee that prompt, impartial and effective investigation in forensic activity guarantees that a culture of accountability rather than impunity prevails. The original version of the Minnesota Protocol, which took effect in 1991, was revised in 2014 within the framework of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Promoted by the I–CRIME project, in which FIIAPP is a managing participant, Professor Duarte Nuno presented the regulatory framework, objectives and principles of action that inspire the new revised version of the Minnesota Protocol. In a second presentation, Dr. Rafael Bañón reviewed specific aspects contained in the Minnesota Protocol and other protocols such as R (99) 3, Adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, on the structure of forensic institutions and the role that they should play in their coordination with other institutions and state administrations.
The presentations were followed by an interesting debate which explored the need to further disseminate the principles that inspire the Minnesota Protocol to specific practical aspects related to the investigation of torture methods and other inhuman and degrading treatment.
At the end of the session, at the request of the participants, it was agreed to hold a similar session to look at the Istanbul protocol and its current application.