What is it about?

This article explores why many complaints of alleged torture are dismissed in court. The main issue highlighted is that victims' testimonies can appear inconsistent, leading authorities to doubt their credibility. The paper identifies six reasons that contribute to these inconsistencies: the effects of detention and interrogation, natural memory flaws, psychological processes, physical and medical conditions, sociocultural factors, and obstacles during interviews. It provides examples for each factor and discusses their impact on the evaluation of psychological injury. The study concludes with recommendations for legal and medical professionals on how to better support torture victims in court. This includes the use of the Istanbul Protocol—a guideline for documenting torture effects—and suggests ways to improve collaboration and education among professionals to address and understand inconsistencies in victims' testimonies, thereby strengthening their cases.

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Why is it important?

This study is of public importance because it helps us understand why people who've survived torture sometimes have trouble when they tell their stories in court. It shows that these survivors aren't being inconsistent on purpose; there are many reasons, like trauma and memory issues, that can make their stories change over time. The research suggests better ways for lawyers and doctors to work together, using guidelines like the Istanbul Protocol, to help torture survivors when they have to go to court. This means survivors can get a fairer chance, and the people working with them will know more about how trauma affects what they say. By making these changes, the study hopes to make the legal system kinder and more understanding for survivors, ensuring they're heard and believed. It's a big step towards making sure everyone gets the justice and support they need.


This is a long awaited article that explains why inconsistency in testimonies of torture victims is to be expected and not an issue of trustworthiness.

Daniel Weishut
Hadassah Academic College

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: A Review of Reasons for Inconsistency in Testimonies of Torture Victims, Psychological Injury and Law, January 2024, Springer Science + Business Media,
DOI: 10.1007/s12207-024-09498-4.
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