What are the conditions under which deaths in custody should be investigated and how can they be prevented?

Summary

International human rights and humanitarian law stipulate that prisoners have the right to be treated humanely and especially receive adequate medical treatment. However, so called “natural” deaths in custody are frequent and often considered “natural” because (1) there are no external signs of violence; (2) there are other health related reasons that seem obvious; and (3) time, guidelines and material is lacking to advise health care workers or international personnel on the spot how to proceed in such cases. The different partners involved in this research examined the conditions under which deaths in custody should be investigated and prevented. It resulted in the elaboration of practice guidelines which will prepare humanitarian workers for investigations of deaths in custody worldwide.

Project Keywords

  • Deaths in custody
  • Ethics
  • Forensic sciences
  • Human rights
  • International health
  • International humanitarian law
  • Prisoners
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Disciplines

  • Ethics
  • Health / Medicine
  • Human rights
  • Law

Relevant Countries

  • All countries

Status

This project, started in 2008, has been completed.

Contact the project team

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Research team

Bernice Elger
Coordinator
University of Geneva

Vincent Chetail
Principal Member
Graduate Institute Geneva

Andrew Coyle
Principal Member
University of London

Paola Gaeta
Principal Member
University of Geneva

Patrice Mangin
Principal Member

Adam Stapleton
Principal Member
Northwestern University

Michael Thali
Principal Member
University of Berne

Morris Tidball Binz
Principal Member
International Committee of the Red Cross

Isabel Hight
Associated Member
International Committee of the Red Cross

Isabel Menegon
Associated Member