Human rights commission’s recommendations on autopsy

The following is the brief account of the procedure to be carried out. The doctors who have access to the scene of death should :

(1) Photograph the body.

(2) Record body position.

(3) Determine time of death.

(4) Protect deceased’s hands with paper bags.

(5) Examine the scene for blood.

(5) Obtain information from scene witnesses, friends or relatives, hospital records, etc.

(6) Place the body in a body pouch.

(7) Become familiar with the types of torture or violence.

Autopsy:

(1) Record the names of all persons present during autopsy.

(2) One doctor should be designated as principal prosector.

(3) Photograph full frontal aspect and right and left profiles of the face.

(4) Colour photographs should be comprehensive in scope and must confirm the presence of all demonstrable signs of injury or disease.

(5) Radiograph the body.

(6) Obtain dental X-rays.

(7) Examine clothing and photograph.

(8) Photograph 100% of body area.

(9) Determine the time of death.

(10) Photograph all injuries.

(11) Photograph scars, keloids, moles, etc.

(12) Identify and label any foreign object that is recovered.

(13) The length of the back, the buttocks and extremities, including wrists and ankles must be systematically incised to look for deep injuries. The shoulders, elbows, hips and knee joints must also be incised to look for ligamentous injury.

(14) Conduct a thorough and complete autopsy.

(15) Take colour photographs of all injuries and abnormalities, found during internal examination.

(16) After completing autopsy, record which specimens have been saved.

(17) Send viscera for chemical examination.

(18) Preserve all foreign objects, all clothes and personal effects, finger nails and nail scrapings; foreign and pubic hair in cases of sexual assault.

(19) At the end of the autopsy report should be a summary of the findings and the cause of death.