Romanian legislation explicitly refers to the use of medical reports in asylum procedures. Article 49^1 of the Asylum Act provides that, when IGI-DAI deems it relevant for the assessment of an asylum application, the asylum seeker will be subject with is consent to medical examination concerning signs that might indicate past persecution or serious harm. The applicant’s refusal to undergo such a medical examination shall not prevent IGI-DAI from taking a decision on the application for international protection.
Medical examinations shall be carried out by the legal medicine institutions and the result shall be transmitted immediately to IGI-DAI. The coverage of the expenses is ensured by the Ministry of Internal Affairs through the budget allocated to IGI in this respect. If the medical examination is requested by IGI-DAI, it is therefore paid by IGI-DAI.
When no medical examination is carried out, IGI-DAI informs applicants that they may, on their own initiative and at their own cost, arrange for a medical examination concerning signs that might indicate past persecution or serious harm. The results of the medical examination are assessed by IGI-DAI in corroboration with other elements of the application for international protection.
Moreover, as a general rule, an applicant is not expected to provide written evidence but he or she is obliged to hand over to the authorities all the documents at his/her disposal which are relevant to his or her personal situation. The Asylum Decree provides that the examination of the asylum application must be carried out individually and taking into account, inter alia, the relevant documents submitted by the applicant, including information on whether he or she has been subjected to persecution or the possibility of being persecuted or of being exposed to a risk of serious harm. This means that the asylum seeker may submit relevant documents with regard to past persecution but also with a view to the possible future persecution and serious harm.
According to the legal counsellor in Giurgiu, if an asylum seeker claims to be a victim of torture, he or she is requested to bring documents proving this allegation. If the asylum seeker presents physical signs of torture, he or she is referred to the medical doctor. If he or she presents mental health issues, he or she is referred to ICAR Foundation.
In addition, the Asylum Act foresees that when there are serious doubts regarding the adult’s asylum seeker legal capacity, specialised staff at IGI-DAI request a medical examination in this regard. If the medical examination reveals lack of legal capacity of the asylum seeker, the case officer in charge of the case, requests the appointment of a counsellor, under the same conditions as for Romanian citizens. The asylum procedure is suspended until the appointment with the counsellor. During this period of suspension, the applicant benefits from the rights set out in the law. The asylum application of an asylum seeker who has no capacity is filed by the counsellor after his or her appointment. When conducting the personal interview, the counsellor will inform the asylum seeker of the purpose and possible consequences of this interview and will take the necessary steps to prepare the applicant for the interview. The interview of an asylum seeker without capacity shall be carried out in the presence of the counsellor.
Timișoara: According to the Director of Regional Centre Timișoara, in 2017 IGI-DAI requested a medical examination for an asylum seeker, as they had serious doubts regarding the legal capacity of the adult asylum seeker. Before requesting a medical examination IGI-DAI appointed as a counsellor the mother of the asylum seeker, but she left Romania soon after. Therefore, they had to request a medical examination in his case, in order to appoint a counsellor that may assist the asylum seeker during the asylum procedure. The medical examination was carried out by the legal medicine institution, IML and it was paid by IGI-DAI. The procedure lasted around 1 year. A Syrian national was appointed as the counsellor but the asylum seeker had left the country before he was appointed. IGI-DAI granted him a form of protection in absentia.
According to the NGO personnel, in Galaţi, Rădăuţi, Şomcuta Mare, Bucharest and Timișoara there were no cases in which a medical examination under Article 49^1 was requested by IGI-DAI in 2019. In Giurgiu, an asylum seeker was diagnosed with schizophrenia after he was hospitalized at the Clinical Hospital of Psychiatry in Bucharest. He was appointed a counsellor, who would have assisted him during the asylum procedure, but he left the regional centre.
IGI-DAI accepts medico-legal expert opinions issued by officially recognised experts enrolled on the lists drawn up by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Justice, with the approval of the Board of Forensics. ICAR Foundation is the NGO that currently provides psycho-social services to asylum seekers, through the project “Health services accessible to the asylum seekers needs – SANSA” in partnership with AIDRom, funded through the AMIF national programme. According to the project description, psycho-social specialists identify vulnerable asylum seekers such as families in need, the elderly, persons with chronic illnesses, unaccompanied minors, victims of physical or psychological violence, and their needs. “Consequently, tests will be conducted to evaluate the general state of health of newly arrived asylum seekers, and general practitioners will provide medical examinations weekly”. Through this project additional tests and medical investigations will be provided, as well as drug and non-drug treatments, as recommended by collaborating doctors, in order to accurately respond to the medical needs of asylum seekers in Romania and also specialised medical consultations.
According to AIDRom representative of Timișoara: the new element that the project brings this year is a scheme of free blood tests for infectious diseases, for which all the asylum seekers are eligible, once they are registered in the reception centres. The blood specimen collection is performed at the regional centre by a phlebotomist from a private laboratory, with whom the NGO is collaborating. The blood collection chair arrived in the Regional Centre Timișoara on 18 October 2019 and the following week they started performing the blood tests. Before this, the blood tests were made at the private laboratory at the doctor’s recommendation. The basic tests also include: hemolithogram, glucose, creatinine, urinalysis, TGO, TGP. If the asylum seeker refuses the blood test, he or she cannot be assisted by AIDRom during the asylum procedure. The project provides for blood test for 600 asylum seekers and 600 treatments and medical investigations.
ICAR Foundation also prepares psychological reports for applicants in line with the requirements set out in the Istanbul Protocol. The psychologists of this NGO, however, are not officially recognised medico-legal experts and as a consequence their opinions are not fully recognised by IGI-DAI or courts when assessing the asylum seeker’s credibility. These reports are scrutinised in the sense that they have to be corroborated by other evidence.
In general, asylum seekers submit either to IGI-DAI or the court medical reports from the country of origin. Practice in 2019 in relation to these reports is reported as follows:
Timișoara: According to the Director of the Regional Centre of Timișoara, medical reports are read by the case officers, but they have to be corroborated by further evidence. Two lawyers from Timișoara reported that they had no cases where medical reports drafted by ICAR Foundation were submitted to IGI-DAI or the court. According to JRS representative, the psychological reports prepared by ICAR are not mentioned in the decision issued by IGI-DAI. On the contrary, the director stated the opposite.
Şomcuta Mare: Medical reports prepared by ICAR Foundation were submitted to IGI-DAI and the court.
Galaţi: According to the legal counsellor, the medical reports are taken into account when assessing the credibility of the asylum seeker but have to be corroborated by other evidence. In practice, the psychological reports of ICAR Foundation were never taken into consideration. IGI-DAI and the court have never ordered a medical examination. The legal counselor was not aware of medical reports drafted by ICAR Foundation in 2019.
Rădăuţi: According to one of the stakeholders interviewed there were no medical reports drafted by ICAR Foundation in 2019. Another stakeholder stated that 2 reports of ICAR Foundation were submitted to IGI-DAI. IGI-DAI takes these reports into account by adapting the personal interview.
Bucharest: the JRS representative was not aware whether medical reports drafted by ICAR Foundation or from the country of origin were submitted to IGI-DAI or the court.
Giurgiu: No medical reports prepared by ICAR Foundation were lodged in the cases assisted by the JRS representative.
 Article 49^1(1) Asylum Act.
 Article 49^1(2) Asylum Act.
 Article 49^1(3) Asylum Act.
 Article 49^1(4) Asylum Act.
 Article 19(c) Asylum Act.
 Article 16(1)(b) Asylum Decree.
 Article 42(1) Asylum Act.
 Article 42(2) Asylum Act.
 Article 42(3) Asylum Act.
 Article 42(4) Asylum Act.
 Article 42(5) Asylum Act.
 Article 42(6) Asylum Act.
 According to Article 34 Regulation implementing Government Ordinance 1/2000 approved by Government Decree 774/2000 as last amended by Government Decree 1204/2002, a medico-legal expert: (a) is a Romanian citizen and is fluent in Romanian; (b) has full legal capacity; (c) is a graduate of a medical university; (d) has a postgraduate specialisation courses in forensics; (e) practices this specialisation; (f)has not been convicted of an offence committed in circumstances related to his or her profession; and (g) is certified as an medico-legal expert at the Board of Forensics, available in Romanian at: http://bit.ly/2B34Iah.