Upon condition that the applicant consents to it, the law provides for the possibility for the competent authorities to refer him or her for a medical and/or psychosocial diagnosis where there are signs or claims, which might indicate past persecution or serious harm. These examinations shall be free of charge and shall be conducted by specialised scientific personnel of the respective specialisation and their results shall be submitted to the competent authorities as soon as possible. Otherwise, the applicants concerned must be informed that they may be subjected to such examinations at their own initiative and expenses. Any results and reports of such examinations had to be taken into consideration by the Asylum Service. The new IPA, provides that any results and reports of such examinations are taken into consideration, in order the deciding authorities to established if the applicant’s allegations of persecution or serious harm are likely to be well-founded”.
Specifically, for persons who have been subjected to torture, rape or other serious acts of violence, a contested provision was introduced in 2018, according to which, such persons should be certified by medical certificate issued by a public hospital or by an adequately trained doctor of a public sector health care service provider. The provision has been maintained by the IPA.
The main critiques against this provision are that doctors in public hospitals and health care providers are not adequately trained to identify possible victims of torture, and that the law foresees solely a medical procedure. According to the Istanbul Protocol, a multidisciplinary approach is required – a team of a doctor, a psychologist and a lawyer – for the identification of victims of torture. Moreover, stakeholders have expressed fears that certificates from other entities than public hospital and public health care providers would not be admissible in the asylum procedure and in judicial review before courts. A recent case from the Administrative Court of Appeal of Piraeus confirms those fears. The Court upheld the second instance negative decision by mentioning that “following the entry into force of L. 4540/2018, Article 23, victims of torture are certified by medical certificate issued by public hospital, army hospital or qualified doctors of public medical entities.”
Few such cases of best practice, where Asylum Service officers referred applicants for such reports, were recorded by GCR in 2019 . However, several cases have been reported to GCR where the Asylum Service officer did not take into account the medical reports provided (see Special Procedural Guarantees).
 Article 53 L 4375/2016.
 Article 72(2) IPA.
Article 23 L 4540/2018.
 Article 61(1) IPA.