OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 19 OF THE CONVENTION
Second periodic reports of States parties due in 1994
* The initial report submitted by the Government of Finland is contained
in document CAT/C/9/Add.4; for its consideration by the Committee,
see documents CAT/C/SR.65 and 66 and the Official Records of
the General Assembly, Forty-sixth session, Supplement No. 44
(A/46/44), paras. 182-208.
1. On 28
September 1990, the Government of Finland submitted the first report
called for under the Convention against Torture to the Committee
against Torture. The Committee considered the report at its 65th
and 66th meetings, on 16 November 1990. Since that first report,
the most important amendments and reforms of Finnish legislation
in the fields covered by the Convention have related, inter alia,
to the concept of "assault" in the Penal Code (chap. 21,
sect. 5), which was changed to include more clearly the concept
of "torture" contained in the Convention, the scope of
application of the Penal Code of Finland, international assistance
in judicial matters, bans on extradition and evidence rules.
important reforms have also been carried out or prepared. These
involve, e.g. penitentiaries, enforcement of sentences, the police,
military law, non-military national service, health care, social
work, ethnic minorities as well as foreigners and their status in
this supplementary report contains an account of the complaints
of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
addressed to the Parliamentary Ombudsman, as well as a note of two
decisions of the European Commission of Human Rights of the Council
of Europe on complaints of the State of Finland being in breach
of the European Convention on Human Rights. The powers and duties
of the Parliamentary Ombudsman and the Chancellor of Justice of
the Council of State as well as the allocation of duties between
them are also presented in this report.
supplementary report of the Government of Finland on the Convention
against Torture was to be submitted to the United Nations Centre
for Human Rights no later than 28 September 1994. The present supplementary
report has been drawn up in accordance with the instructions issued
by the Committee against Torture (CAT/C/14).
requests for supplementary information made by the members of the
Committee during its consideration of the first Finnish report seemed,
in most cases, to derive from uncertainty, on the level of principle,
as to which provisions of the Convention are directly applicable
in Finland and which require amendment of the material provisions
in national legislation. The general practice of implementation
of the international treaties concluded by Finland is to enact a
"framework Act" and a "framework Decree" providing
that the legislative provisions in the treaty in question are in
force in Finland as agreed without any further enumeration. Accordingly,
by the enactment of the framework Act and Decree the treaty is implemented
as a whole; it is then published in the Treaty Series of the
Statutes of Finland and becomes binding legislation in Finland.
The Convention against Torture has been implemented in Finland using
this framework procedure. In addition, other current legislation
has been amended, where necessary, to comply with the obligations
imposed by the new treaty, should a discrepancy have existed in
the first place.
other alternative for the implementation of an international treaty
in Finland is to enact a material Act or Decree. This procedure
involves the drafting of completely new Finnish legislation incorporating
the entirety of the obligations imposed by the treaty. This more
complicated procedure has not been used in Finland when human rights
conventions have been implemented.
became a signatory to the European Convention for the Prevention
of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment on 16
November 1989. The European Convention entered into force in Finland
on 1 April 1991. In addition, Finland became a signatory to the
first and second additional Protocols to the European Convention
on 4 November 1993. The Protocols have not yet taken effect, as
all of the States parties to the main Convention must first adopt
them. Several States parties have not yet done so.
purpose of the first additional Protocol is to promote the participation
of States not members of the Council of Europe in the activities
of the organization. Under the Protocol a non-member State may accede
to the European Convention. The Protocol also contains some technical
amendments to the text of the European Convention made necessary
by this change.
purpose of the second additional Protocol is to provide for more
flexibility in the election of the members of the Committee set
up by the European Convention. Under the Protocol the members could
be re-elected twice, whereas the current provision allows for one
Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT)
paid an inspection visit to Finland from 10 to 20 May 1992. It inspected
the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in institutions.
The visit is presented also in this supplementary report of the
Government of Finland on the Convention against Torture, especially
in so far as the visit and the inspections carried out concern issues
falling within the scope of this report. The report of the CPT on
its visit to Finland and the comments of the Government of Finland
on the recommendations, observations and requests for additional
information are annexed to this supplementary report.
I. INFORMATION ON NEW MEASURES AND NEW DEVELOPMENTS
RELATING TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTION
FOLLOWING THE ORDER OF ARTICLES 1 TO 16
of torture in Finland (art. 4)
the Government Bill on the amendment of the basic right provisions
in the Constitution (Bill 1993/309) it is proposed that the prohibition
of torture and other degrading treatment be incorporated into the
Constitution (sect. 6, para. 2). This provision would generally
apply to official activities. The new Parliament, elected in 1995,
is expected to adopt the amendment. The new provision would read
"No one shall
be sentenced to capital punishment, tortured or otherwise treated
in a degrading manner."
in section 7, paragraph 4, of the Constitution it is provided that
a foreigner shall not be deported, extradited or returned to a country
where he is under threat of capital punishment, torture or degrading
abolished peace-time capital punishment in 1949. It was completely
removed from the Finnish penal system in 1972 (Act 1972/343). The
deportation or extradition of a person is also prohibited if there
is a possibility that he will be under threat of unlawful capital
explicit prohibition of torture in the Constitution emphasizes the
fact that treatment inflicting severe mental or physical suffering,
must not be approved under any circumstances. The prohibition of
degrading treatment covers both physical and mental aspects. It
is intended to apply to all forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading
punishment or other treatment.
as defined in the Convention, is in most cases punishable as assault
under chapter 21 of the Finnish Penal Code. In February 1995, Parliament
adopted phase II of the Penal Code reform, which includes new provisions
on assault, aggravated assault and petty assault. Chapter 21, section
5, of the Penal Code, in its amended form, reads as follows:
physical violence on another or, without such violence, damages
the health of another, causes pain to another or renders another
unconscious or to a comparable condition, shall be sentenced
for assault to a fine or to imprisonment for at most
attempt shall be punished."
provision on assault covers two aspects. On one hand, employing
physical violence on another constitutes an assault. It may result
in injury or damaged health, but it is equally possible that the
act has no visible effect. On the other hand, the emphasis may be
in the effect of the act. It is punishable to damage the health
of another or cause pain to another employing means other than physical
violence. Damage to health, punishable as assault, covers bodily
injury and illness, but also mental illness and mental disorders.
Also, pain caused without physical violence is punishable as assault.
Generally, pain is caused by damage to health, but in some cases
it may be the only effect of the act.
assault is aggravated if, for example, it is perpetrated in a manner
manifesting exceptional brutality or cruelty and if it is to be
considered aggravated also when assessed as a whole. The maximum
penalty for aggravated assault is imprisonment for 10 years (sect.
6). Attempted assault and attempted aggravated assault are punishable.
The provision on aggravated assault reads as follows:
bodily harm or serious illness is caused to another or another
is placed in mortal danger,
"(3) a firearm,
edged weapon or other comparable dangerous weapon is used
"(2) the offence
is committed in an extremely brutal or cruel manner, or
and the offence,
also when assessed as a whole, is aggravated, the offender shall
be sentenced for aggravated assault to imprisonment for
at least six months and at most ten years.
shall be punished."
7 of the chapter provides for the penalty of a fine in minor cases
"If the assault,
when assessed as a whole and with due consideration to the minor
character of the violence, the violation of physical integrity,
the damage to health or other relevant circumstances, is of
minor character, the offender shall be sentenced for petty
assault to a fine."
the slightly outdated provision in chapter 25, section 11 of the
Penal Code on the extraction of confessions by torture was repealed.
compliance with the rule in article 4 of the Convention, the reformed
penal provisions on assault fully cover torture as defined in article
of application of the Penal Code of Finland (art. 5)
offence committed in Finland is always judged in accordance with
Finnish law. A Finnish citizen and a foreigner habitually resident
in Finland are judged under Finnish law also for offences committed
abroad. In general, other foreigners may be judged under Finnish
law for offences committed abroad only if the offence is connected
to Finland in the manner referred to in chapter 1, section 3, paragraph
2 of the Penal Code or if the offence is punishable also under the
law of the place of commission (dual punishability). An exception
is made with regard to "international offences". Such
offences, enumerated in chapter 1, section 3, paragraph 2 of the
Penal Code, are subject to the principle of universality,
under which a foreigner may be judged under Finnish law also when
the offence is not punishable under the law of the place of commission.
Such offences include, in accordance with subparagraph 2a of the
said provision, assault, aggravated assault, attempt thereof or
another offence that is to be deemed torture under the Convention.
for an offence committed outside Finland requires an order for prosecution
by the Chancellor of Justice. It is for him to determine whether
the act in question is to be deemed torture under the Convention,
and as such subject to judgement in Finland under the principle
of universality. The role of the Chancellor of Justice in the prosecution
contributes to the fact that the absence of a specific torture provision
is not in practice a hindrance for the application of the principle.
Penal Code Reform Project completed its proposal for the scope of
application of the Finnish Penal Code in 1991 (No. 2/1991 of the
publication series of the Law Drafting Department, Ministry of Justice).
According to the proposal, Finnish law would always apply to an
offence committed outside Finland, where it is punishable under
an international treaty in force in Finland regardless of the law
of the place of commission (international offence). The provision
would be supplemented by a Decree enumerating, exhaustively, those
international offences subject to the principle of universality.
Torture, as referred to in the Convention, is listed in the draft
Decree. The Bill containing these proposals will probably be submitted
to Parliament in the summer or autumn of 1995.
proposal of the Penal Code Reform Project does not alter the list
of offences subject to the principle of universality. It is merely
proposed that they be listed in a Decree instead of an Act, so as
to technically facilitate later alterations called for by developments
of international law. Prosecution for an international offence (e.g.
torture) committed abroad would continue to require the order for
prosecution by the Chancellor of Justice. It is intended that a
Bill to this effect will be submitted to the new Parliament elected
legal assistance (art. 9) and extradition ban (art. 3)
Finnish Act on International Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters
(1994/4) entered into force in January 1994. Under the Act the Finnish
authorities provide legal assistance at the request of foreign authorities
regardless of whether the two countries have concluded a treaty
to this effect. Reciprocity is also not a condition for legal assistance.
Legal assistance may be granted even if the act in question were
not punishable under Finnish law (note, however, sect. 4, para.
4, of the Constitution, as referred to above).
exception is made with regard to the use of coercive measures; a
request for legal assistance for this purpose may be granted only
if, and to the extent that, such measures would be available were
the act committed in Finland under similar circumstances. As torture
is under Finnish law punishable as assault, a suspect for which
may be subjected to coercive measures under the Coercive Measures
Act (1987/450), this restriction has no relevance with regard to
the efficiency of article 9.
assistance, as defined in the Act, does not include extradition,
which is subject to separate legislation, i.e. the Extradition Act
(1970/456). According to section 7 of the Act extradition shall
not be granted, where there is reason to believe that the person
whose extradition is requested will be in danger of losing his life
or liberty or of other persecution because of, for example, the
political situation. The danger of torture is not expressly mentioned
in the provision. However, the Implementation Act of the Convention
(1989/828) has made the legal provisions of the Convention directly
applicable to the Finnish authorities. According to section 14 of
the Extradition Act the Ministry of Justice decides on extradition.
There is always an element of discretion involved. The ban, in article
3 of the Convention, on extradition to a State where there are substantial
grounds for believing that the person extradited would be in danger
of being subjected to torture is directly binding on the Ministry
of Justice when a request for extradition is being considered.
Finnish Act on the Jurisdiction of the International Tribunal for
the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Crimes Committed in the
Territory of the Former Yugoslavia and on Legal Assistance to the
International Tribunal (1994/12) entered into force on 15 January
1994. It contains provisions on the fulfilment of the duties based
on the Statute of the International Tribunal established by resolution
827 (1993) of the United Nations Security Council. These provisions
involve the recognition and enforcement of the Tribunal's judgements
in Finland, extradition and other international legal assistance
and cooperation between the Tribunal and the competent Finnish authorities.
The Act was enacted in accordance with the procedure reserved for
constitutional amendments, because it, for example, obligates Finland
to grant an extradition request by the Tribunal also when it concerns
a Finnish citizen.
weighing of evidence (art. 15)
the Finnish Preliminary Investigations Act, a confes-sion or a statement
must not be obtained from a person being ques-tioned through exhaustion,
threats, coercion or other improper methods or approa-ches that
influence the freedom of choice, willpower, memory or judgement
of that person.
chapter 17, section 2, of the Code of Judicial Procedure, the concept
of "free weighing of evidence" has been adopted into court
proceedings in Finland. There is no provision regarding the status
of evidence obtained through illegal means. The court shall carefully
and objectively consider the available evidence and, using common
sense, deem whether it constitutes sufficient proof in the matter
at hand. Under Finnish law, evidence or statements obtained through
pressure, torture or other punishable methods are not used as a
basis for judicial decisions. It has not been considered necessary
to take into Finnish law a provision expressly disallowing the use
of statements obtained through torture in court proceedings.
of prisoners and right of correspondence (art. 16)
basic provisions relating to the treatment of prisoners have been
moved, by a legislative amendment (1995/128), from the Prison Administration
Act to chapter 1 of the Decree on the Enforcement of Sentences.
At the same time the provisions on correspondence between a prisoner
and a body monitoring human rights were clarified. Chapter 2, section
9, paragraph 2, of the Decree on the Enforcement of Sentences (1974/612)
contained a provision to the effect that a letter from a prisoner
to a body supervising the operations of the penitentiary was to
be delivered at once and uncensored. The clarification, stating
that letters to the Human Rights Committee and the Commission of
Human Rights are also to be delivered uncensored, has so far been
based on a guideline issued by the Prison Administration Department
of the Ministry of Justice.
clarification has been extended to the statutory provision relating
to the prisoner's correspondence, as well as to letters to and from
any body monitoring human rights. According to chapter 2, section
9, paragraph 2, of the Act (1995/128) the correspondence between
a prisoner and a body supervising the operations of the penitentiary,
as well as a body monitoring human rights, to which the prisoner
can by virtue of a treaty address appeals or complaints, shall be
delivered at once and uncensored. The same amendment was made also
to the Remand Imprisonment Act (1974/615); the correspondence between
a remand prisoner and a body monitoring human rights must not be
censored (sect. 13, para. 2, Act 1995/129). These amendments entered
into force on 1 May 1995.
on 1 May 1995 the provisions relating to the use of telephones,
the searching of prisoners and visitors and prison discipline were
amended. A prisoner's duty to work was extended into a duty to participate.
reforms and proposed reforms; inspections by international bodies
and human rights appeals
reform of the preventive detention system
March 1994 the Penal Code Reform Project submitted its proposal
on imprisonment and parole to the Ministry of Justice (No. 3/1994
of the publication series of the Law Drafting Department, Ministry
of Justice). It was proposed that the incarceration of dangerous
recidivists in preventive detention be abolished (Act on the same,
1953/317). According to the proposal, incarceration of an offender
who is deemed dangerous could be replaced by a postponement of parole
so that he would serve in prison the full term of the sentence passed
by the court. The preparation of this proposal continues in the
Ministry of Justice in 1995.
of the CPT on the inspection visit to Finland
the first report called for under the Convention against Torture
the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman
or Degrading Treatment or Punishment entered into force in Finland
(on 1 April 1991, Treaty 1991/17, Act 1991/463). The CPT was established
to examine, by means of visits, the treatment of persons deprived
of their liberty. The Committee visited Finland from 10 to 20 May
1992. At that time it inspected, inter alia, three prisons
and a prison asylum. The CPT report of 26 February 1993 and the
Finnish comments thereto are annexed to this supplementary report.
the report, which was adopted during the plenary session of the
Committee held from 15 to 18 May 1993, it is stated that the Committee
did not hear allegations of torture or other poor treatment (point
59). Regardless of this, the Committee presents Finland with a number
of recommendations and requests for supplementary information. In
the report, the Committee stressed violence among prisoners (65),
amelioration of conditions in confinement (67-78), substantive defects
in some prisons (80-83), certain issues relating to health care
(105, 110, 118), staff training, appeals and supervision procedures
(123, 129, 132), treatment of foreign prisoners (142), placement
of prisoners (139) and the carrying of firearms in close proximity
to prisoners (145).
II. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REQUESTED BY THE COMMITTEE
following contains more specific additional information requested
by the Committee relating to, for example, issues of prison administration,
which were, as stated, considered in the oral hearing, in the CPT
report and in the Finnish comments thereto.
of Justice of the Council of State and Parliamentary Ombudsman
Finnish Constitution contains provisions on the Chancellor of Justice
of the Council of State and the Parliamentary Ombudsman as well
as on their duties (sects. 46 and 49). A specific Act has been enacted
on the allocation of duties between them (1990/1224). For instance,
both the Chancellor of Justice and the Ombudsman hear the complaints
of individuals against the activities of the authorities.
of Justice of the Council of State
Council of State is attended by the Chancellor of Justice, who must
be eminently competent in matters of law. There is also an Assistant
Chancellor of Justice, who attends to the duties of the former,
where necessary. Further, the Assistant Chancellor of Justice has
a deputy, who takes his place when he is prevented from attending
to his duties. The President of the Republic appoints the deputy
for a term not to exceed five years.
Chancellor of Justice supervises public authorities and officials
in their observance of the law and the fulfilment of their duties
so that no one's legal rights are violated. This supervision is
based, for example, on the complaints of individual persons.
is for the Chancellor of Justice to represent the public prosecutors
before the Supreme Court and the Supreme Administrative Court and
otherwise oversee the interests of the State, as well as prosecute
charges or have them prosecuted before other courts, where he deems
this necessary. As the supreme public prosecutor the Chancellor
of Justice also supervises the public prosecutors, who are bound
to comply with his orders.
Chancellor of Justice has the right to attend the sessions of the
Council of State, as well as all courts and government agencies,
and to obtain information from the minutes and records of the Council
of State, the ministries, the courts and the other authorities.
a regular parliamentary session, following the procedure provided
for the election of the Speaker of Parliament, a person distinguished
for his knowledge of the law shall be elected to serve as the Parliamentary
Ombudsman for a term of four years. Pursuant to instructions given
to him by Parliament, the Parliamentary Ombudsman oversees that
courts and other authorities, as well as public officials performing
their duties, public employees and other persons performing public
duties, comply with the law and fulfil their obligations. This supervisory
task is also based, for example, on complaints.
Ombudsman has the same right as the Chancellor of Justice to attend
the sessions of the Council of State, the courts and government
agencies, to obtain information from the minutes and the records
of the Council of State, the ministries, the courts and the other
authorities, and to prosecute charges or have them prosecuted for
any error or negligence which he finds in the activities under his
supervision. If the Council of State or a member thereof, in an
official act, proceeds in an unlawful manner, the Ombudsman has
the power to object to this and, at the same time, point out the
unlawfulness. If the objection is not heeded or if the nature of
the matter so demands, the Ombudsman has the power to report the
matter to Parliament.
year the Ombudsman submits a report to Parliament on the course
of his official duties and on the standard of judicial practice
and any defects he may have noticed in legislation. If the Ombudsman,
in an official act, has proceeded in an unlawful manner, Parliament
may order charges to be brought against him.
of duties between the Chancellor of Justice and the Ombudsman
main principles of the Act on the Allocation of Duties between the
Chancellor of Justice of the Council of State and the Parliamentary
Ombudsman are as follows.
Chancellor of Justice of the Council of State is released from the
duty to monitor compliance with the law in matters within the ambit
of the Parliamentary Ombudsman, involving:
Ministry of Defence, with the exception of matters referred to in
section 41, paragraph 1, of the Constitution; the armed forces;
the border guard service; the peace-keeping personnel referred to
in the Act on the Participation of Finland in the Peace-keeping
Operations of the United Nations (1984/514); military law;
arrest, detention and travel bans, referred to in the Coercive Measures
Act (1987/450), administrative custody and other deprivation of
and other institutions where persons are kept involuntarily.
the Chancellor of Justice is released from consideration of matters
initiated by persons who have been deprived of their liberty by
detention, arrest or other measures.
all cases referred to above, the Chancellor of Justice must transfer
the matter to the Ombudsman, unless he for special reasons deems
it appropriate to decide the matter himself.
Chancellor of Justice and the Ombudsman may by mutual agreement
also transfer to the other matters falling within both their ambits,
where such transfer can be assumed to expedite the consideration
of the matter or where it is justified for another special reason.
In a matter initiated by complaint, the transfer is to be notified
to the complaining party.
is the intention to expand the ambits of both the Chancellor of
Justice and the Ombudsman to cover human rights and basic rights.
The pertinent legislation is currently in Parliament and will be
decided during 1995. A statute of limitations - of five years -
has been introduced for complaints to the Ombudsman. This provision
will enter into force in the beginning of 1996. A corresponding
statute of limitations is being planned for complaints to the Chancellor
50. A Committee
reflecting on the reform and reorganisation of the public prosecution
service submitted its report to the Ministry of Justice on 4 April
reform of judicial procedure in criminal matters and the prevention
of white-collar crime require the improvement of the public prosecutors'
operations. The Ministry of Justice Committee has proposed that
the duties of the supreme public prosecutor be transferred from
the Chancellor of Justice to a new authority, the Prosecutor-General.
Currently, the Chancellor of Justice is both the supreme public
prosecutor and the supreme supervisor of legality. According to
the Committee the establishment of the office of Prosecutor-General,
who could concentrate on the supervision and development of the
operations of the public prosecutors, would contribute to a clearer
Committee aims at the creation of a completely independent public
prosecution service. The Chancellor of Justice could then concentrate
on the monitoring of the Council of State and the supervision of
the legality of the official actions of the authorities and other
public activities. Further, the Committee proposes that the public
prosecution service be organized on two tiers: the Bureau of the
Prosecutor-General would be hierarchically above the local prosecutors.
The Bureau would have three or four regional offices. A new office,
that of state prosecutor, would be established to supersede the
current county prosecutors. They would be posted at the headquarters
of the Bureau of the Prosecutor-General and of the regional offices.
The state prosecutors would in the future be responsible for the
criminal matters most significant to the interests of society.
population and its development
average prisoner population in Finland has during the past few years
been some 3,500. A comparison of the daily averages from 1989 and
1994 shows that the number of prisoners serving sentences has remained
constant, while that of remand prisoners has fallen from 350 to
259. The greatest change has occurred in the number of prisoners
serving a conversion sentence. The daily average of such prisoners
has increased from 98 to 221. The steepest rise in the numbers of
fine defaulters occurred in 1991-1993; in 1993 the daily average
hit a peak of 245. This increase reflects the economic recession
on the enforcement of sentences
amendments to the Act on the Enforcement of Sentences (AES) and
the Remand Imprisonment Act entered into force on 1 May 1995. They
are intended, inter alia, to improve the prevention of drug
abuse in prisons and to increase the active participation of prisoners
in prison programmes. The most important principles governing the
treatment of prisoners have been moved to an Act from a hierarchically
lower-level enactment. Also, the "normality principle"
is now at the hierarchical level of an Act. Under this principle,
the conditions within a prison must be organized to resemble as
closely as possible those in the community at large. The enforcement
of a sentence of imprisonment must be arranged so that the penalty
comprises the deprivation of liberty only.
55. A prisoner
may be confined in the following situations:
prisoner may be kept in solitary confinement while a transgression
is being investigated and a decision on disciplinary punishment
expected (AES, chap. 2, sect. 10 (c)). A decision on solitary confinement
is made by the warden or an official appointed by him. The maximum
allowed time of solitary confinement is seven days;
prisoner may also be confined and kept separate from other prisoners
when an Act specifically provides for a reason to do so (AES, chap.
3, sect. 9). Such reasons are a grave danger to the life or health
of another, the prevention of a clear attempt at escape or jailbreak,
the prevention of recurrent drug abuse or continued narcotics offence,
as well as other conduct of the prisoner severely compromising the
maintenance of order in the prison. A decision on confinement is
made by the warden. The decision on confinement and the monitoring
of the enforcement of the decision are to be carried out in cooperation
with the prison doctor. Confinement must not be continued beyond
the time necessary with regard to the purpose of the measure. The
decision on confinement is to be reconsidered at one-month intervals.
The prisoner has no appeal against the decisions referred to above.
Instead, he has an unrestricted right to complain about it to an
authority supervising the operations of the prisons. According to
section 72 of the Prison Administration Decree the prisoner must
be heard before the decision is made;
prisoner may be subjected to disciplinary punishment for a transgression.
Such punishments are warning, suspension or restriction of rights,
solitary confinement and not counting the time spent in solitary
confinement or a part thereof towards service of sentence (AES,
chap. 2, sect. 10). According to section 73 of the Prison Administration
Decree the prisoner may appeal to the Department of Prison Administration
of the Ministry of Justice against a decision of the prison board
on the loss of time served during a disciplinary punishment if this
exceeds 10 days or, when added to previous similar sanctions from
the same period of imprisonment, 30 days. The prisoner has no appeal
against other decisions on disciplinary punishment.
decision of the Ministry of Justice on a prisoner is not subject
to appeal, unless there is a separate provision for the same.
is provided in section 1 of the Incarceration of Dangerous Recidivists
Act that when a court sentences a person to imprisonment for a fixed
period it may, upon the demand of the public prosecutor and if the
prerequisites laid down in that provision are fulfilled, at the
same time state that the person can be incarcerated in preventive
detention. The person may appeal against the sentence and the statement
on incarceration before a court of appeal and further if granted
leave to do so, to the Supreme Court.
the sentence has become final, the Prison Court decides whether
the person is incarcerated. This decision is final and not subject
to appeal. However, the Prison Court must review its decision if
it is found that the decision on incarceration is based on erroneous
premises or if new evidence indicates that there manifestly is no
need of incarceration.
Prison Court is a judicial organ whose members have the responsibility
of judges. The President of the Republic appoints four members,
two of whom must have judicial experience and one of whom must be
a psychiatrist. In addition, there is one lay member. The Director-General
of the Prison Administration Service is a member by virtue of his
office. The Court is chaired by one of the lawyer members, who has
generally been appointed from among the judges of the courts of
to section 13 of the Preventive Detention Decree, a person who has
been incarcerated is generally subject to the provisions on imprisoned
persons in the legislation governing the enforcement of sentences.
No separate institutions have been established for preventive detention,
but the incarcerated persons have in practice been placed in normal
prison facilities among other prisoners. Accordingly, incarceration
in preventive detention does not imply separation from other prisoners
or solitary confinement. When, in specific cases, an incarcerated
person has been kept separate this has been due to his own conduct
or for reasons of prison safety. The incarcerated person is in these
cases subject to the same rules as all other prisoners. Since 1971,
it has been necessary to place two incarcerated persons into solitary
confinement for a longer period.
main point of incarceration in preventive detention is that the
person is not eligible for parole, as other prisoners are, but instead,
as a precautionary measure, he has to serve his entire sentence
in an institution.
the incarcerated person is released on parole after he has served
his entire sentence, the matter must, according to section 15, paragraph
1, of the Incarceration Act, be reviewed by the Prison Court at
intervals of six months at most. The option to continue the incarceration
of a person beyond his sentence has never been used since 1971,
when the current system was introduced.
the moment there are 13 persons who have been incarcerated in preventive
3 March 1994 the Penal Code Reform Project proposed to the Ministry
of Justice that the incarceration of dangerous recidivists into
preventive detention be abolished (see para. 33 above).
fair treatment of prisoners and respect of their human rights are
dealt with on a number of occasions during the basic and advanced
training of prison personnel. In basic training the students get
acquainted with the pertinent legislation as well as the most important
international human rights conventions and other corresponding rules.
The principles of prisoner treatment are also taught in basic training.
Similar training courses are also arranged as supplementary training
for staff already employed in the Prison Administration Service.
For instance, human rights have been dealt with in the seminar "European
Integration and Prison Administration", arranged in the autumn
of 1994, and in the recurrent training course "Cultural Clash
in Prisons". The problems encountered by foreign prisoners
have also been studied during the latter course. Training has also
been given in, for example, the prevention of suicides in prisons.
current reform projects
right of a prisoner to appeal against important decisions pertaining
to himself is currently being considered. On 23 November 1993 the
Ministry of Justice appointed a working group to consider the right
of a person sentenced to imprisonment or community service to appeal
against a decision of an enforcement authority pertaining to him.
The working group is to consider which decisions should be made
subject to appeal and to make a proposal on the appeal procedure
and the effect of appeal on the enforcement of the sentence. The
deadline set for the working group was 31 March 1995; it has submitted
its report on the realization of the proposed reform to the Ministry
Government of Finland issued its final comments to the CPT report
in February 1994. They present an account of the measures undertaken
in Finland on the basis of the observations and recommendations
of the Committee. The following sections on the police (8.2-8.10)
are generally based on the pertinent observations in the report.
or other mistreatment
reports of alleged police brutality from 1991 and 1992 (85 and 92,
respectively) have been considered by the public prosecutors. Of
these, 39 in 1991 and 42 in 1992 resulted in a decision not to bring
charges or to an acquittal in court. There are no separate statistics
on the reports found to have been false or unfounded.
prisoners in police stations
prisoners are kept in police stations only exceptionally. This is,
however, quite often necessary especially in the bigger cities.
Some reasons for this are:
is easier to identify remand prisoners, as victims and witnesses
can get to police stations more easily than to prisons;
interrogations and the display of evidence to remand prisoners in
prisons is more difficult;
is more difficult to keep suspects separated in a prison, which
jeopardizes the success of the investigation;
attempt is made to protect remand prisoners from the revenge of
other prisoners; in such cases the remand prisoners are often kept
in police stations at their own request;
is more room for flexibility in meetings with relatives and others
than there is in county prisons.
Finnish police do not usually pressure a remand prisoner in any
way in order to obtain information or a confession. The transfer
of a remand prisoner from police premises to a prison is not used
as a means of pressure, but a decision on transfer is made when
there no longer is a reason, referred to above, to keep the remand
prisoner in the station. The transfer decision is made by the competent
the Ministry of Justice approves the keeping of remand prisoners
in given police premises, special attention is paid to the protection
of the basic rights of the prisoner during the remand imprisonment.
It is not possible to provide all remand prisoners kept in such
premises, or even in county prisons, with rational full-time activity
outside their cells. It has also been difficult to arrange for outdoor
activity for arrested persons.
the spring of 1994 the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of the
Interior held consultations on the development of the remand imprisonment
system so that the observations and recommendations of the CPT were
taken into account. Another goal has been to create a comprehensive
monitoring system which allows for more accuracy when the Ministry
of Justice monitors the times of remand imprisonment in police premises.
It is intended that this development work should continue.
it is not anticipated that the current practice of keeping remand
prisoners in police premises can be totally abolished, as Finland
has relatively few county prisons, as prison architecture does not
allow for this and as there is a risk of tampering with evidence,
especially in cases where there are large numbers of suspects. Also,
it has not been deemed feasible, for reasons of efficiency, to move
police prisons to the control of the Prison Administration Service.
of persons deprived of their liberty in police stations
late 1993 the highest police command started an experiment on providing
mattresses to the customers of detoxification centres. The Töölö
detox centre in Helsinki was used as the test facility, once a suitable
-for hygiene and for safety - model and material for the mattress
had been selected. The experiment was carried out by means of forms
to be filled in; opinions on the mattresses were asked from police
officers, medical personnel, cleaning staff as well as every customer
of the detox centre.
the most part, the experiment yielded positive results. A need for
the improvement of the surface material of the mattresses was, however,
discovered. When this need has been addressed, the police precincts
will be advised to provide mattresses to the customers of their
detoxification facilities, within the limits of the resources allocated
for this purpose.
practical procedures adopted in the Töölö detox centre have been
changed, pursuant to a written directive of the director of the
centre, so that the inmate density of the cells is getting lower.
safeguards preventing mistreatment of persons in police custody
is the opinion of the Ministry for the Interior that, during a preliminary
investigation the decision to delay notification of the relatives
of an arrested person for special reasons should primarily be made
by the official in charge of the investigation, who has detailed
knowledge of the case at hand. The secondary option is that the
decision on a delay of notification is made by another senior police
to section 12 of the Remand Imprisonment Act (1974/615) a person
who has been detained or arrested has the right to converse in private
with his attorney, unless there is a justified reason to believe
that this right will be abused. The intention is that if the suspicion
of abuse precludes an unattended visit, the person who has been
detained or arrested could be provided with an opportunity to select
an attorney from among the members of the Finnish Bar Association
and converse with him in private.
check-ups of persons deprived of their liberty
arrested person has in practice quite a flexible choice of doctor
who is to examine him, at his own expense, if he is not content
with the services of the Finnish public medical care system, which
is widely considered to be of a high standard and which is available
to the arrested person free of charge.
reasons of safety - of the doctor, of the arrested person and of
police personnel - there is generally a police officer present during
medical check-ups. Usually only the police officer concerned has
knowledge of the possibly violent nature of the subject, his criminal
background or, for example, his possible motivation to attempt escape
or take hostages. The legal protection of the police officer charged
with the guarding of the subject may also be involved. If it is
known that the subject is not violent or he is not expected to escape,
there will not be a police officer present during a medical check-up,
unless the doctor specifically asks for it.
situation in Finland with regard to HIV and AIDS is relatively good.
There are currently quite few - some 550 - patients, but the problem
has none the less been taken into account. In principle, every arrested
person is treated in a manner minimizing the danger of infection.
If the subject is known to have AIDS, his cell door will be marked.
This procedure is considered not to compromise the rights of the
AIDS patient, as he is not visible to third parties and as the personnel
must have knowledge of the situation, not least for reasons of occupational
safety. Also the medical personnel have deemed the practice justifiable.
arrested persons of their rights
arrest form used by the police has been redesigned so that the arrested
person confirms by his signature that he has been informed of his
rights. The new form does not enumerate every individual right notified
to the subject; it merely has a box which is checked after the information
has been given. In addition, a poster on the rights of arrested
persons is made available to the subject. The language used when
arrested persons are informed of their rights is such that the subjects
understand it reasonably well. The police make use of the services
of an interpreter, where necessary.
English translation of the poster on the rights of arrested persons,
to be posted on the premises where the subjects are kept, is annexed
to this report. Apart from English, it has been translated into
Swedish, Russian, Estonian, German, French, Italian and Spanish.
provisions on the correct interrogation procedures were formerly
issued in the Police Gazette issued by the Ministry of the Interior,
but due to their importance they have now been incorporated in the
Preliminary Investigations Act, the Preliminary Investigations Decree
and the Coercive Measures Act.
the cadets of the police academies are trained in interrogation
procedures they are given written instructions, which can later
be used as a manual in practical police work. According to the Preliminary
Investigations Act (1987/449) the police, before an interrogation,
must notify the subject of his status in the preliminary investigation
and of his rights and duties. It is for this reason that the "Pin"
form, which can be given to the subject, has been added to the form
array that the police use in preliminary investigations (see annex).
subject of an interrogation has a legal right to have a reliable
and impartial witness attend the interrogation. If the subject does
not invoke this right, the established practice is to have a police
officer witness the interrogation. This is the practice also in
those situations where waiting for the arrival of the witness invited
by the subject would delay the investigation and endanger its completion.
is possible to record the interrogations carried out in preliminary
investigations. This is, however, only rarely done. The recording
of routine interrogations has not become a practice. It is primarily
the interrogator who decides whether the interrogation is recorded
regards offences governed by the Penal Code, the number of interrogations
carried out elsewhere than in police stations is negligible in proportion
to the total number of interrogations, but they are none the less
of great importance. The police also try to minimize any inconvenience
caused, for example, by interrogations. Accordingly, if it would
inconvenience the subject to arrive at a police station for an interrogation,
it may be carried out, where discreetly possible, in the workplace
of the subject, a hospital, an institution, a prison, a work colony,
the home of the subject or another suitable place.
89. A language
barrier may also hinder an interrogation if the subject uses the
other official language of Finland and the interrogator does not
know it. This may compromise the legal protection of the subject.
of alleged police criminality
the working group which was appointed to study the establishment
of an independent commission to investigate offences allegedly committed
by the police submitted its report, the establishment of such a
commission has been under consideration; the underlying idea is
to maintain the trust of the citizens in the police. The report
outlines a number of different models ensuring maximum impartiality
in the preliminary investigations. The mandate of the working group
did not cover only police brutality but also other offences committed
by police officers in the line of duty. The report was submitted
to the Ministry of the Interior in 1990.
matter has since then been considered by a working group whose members
are drawn from the Ministry of the Interior and from the Office
of the Chancellor of Justice. The mandate of this body is to prepare,
in the spring of 1995, a proposal for a new investigative commission;
the commission would be directed by an impartial public prosecutor
and investigate the most serious offences alleged to be committed
by the police in the line of duty.
legislation on public officials has been amended since 1990. The
Public Officials Act currently in force (1994/750) contains provisions
on disciplinary proceedings, the general duties of public officials,
warnings, suspensions, the board supervising public officials and
dismissal. According to section 93, paragraph 2, of the Constitution
it is possible, as provided by an Act, to demand that an official
be sentenced to a punishment and ordered to pay damages, or to report
an offence so as to have charges brought against that official.
Parliamentary Ombudsman monitors, inter alia, the legality
of the official actions of the police. The Office of the Ombudsman
has in its service staff who have training and experience in preliminary
investigations. The Ombudsman can take matters up for an investigation
not only on the basis of a complaint, but also on his own initiative;
the investigation may be carried out without recourse to an earlier
preliminary investigation carried out by the police.
issues of the Convention against Torture have been carried forward
also in the field of military law.
provisions of military law in chapter 45 of the Penal Code (1983/321),
the Military Discipline Act (1983/331; includes provisions on confinement,
a penalty comprising the deprivation of liberty) and Decree (1983/969)
as well as the legislation on courts martial conform with the Finnish
legal system, which is conducive to preventing violations of the
Convention against Torture. As regards the investigation of offences
and the pertinent coercive measures, military matters are handled
in accordance with the provisions of the civilian Acts on preliminary
investigation and coercive measures, except for certain organizational
the interests of control of the rigid hierarchy that is both characteristic
and necessary to military communities, chapter 45, section 13 contains
a provision on the misuse of a superior position. The General Staff
Headquarters reissued its standing orders on the application of
this provision on 25 February 1993; the orders also cover the pertinent
duties of information and control. The standing orders have been
annexed to this report. Consequently, the requirements in articles
10 and 11 of the Convention have been fulfilled.
national service is performed by doing work that is useful for the
society. The service must, according to section 17 of the Non-Military
National Service Act (1991/1723), be arranged so that the duties
are not in contradiction with the convictions of the serviceman.
Servicemen are monitored and disciplined by specifically appointed
persons who are subject to public liability.
98. A serviceman
must conscientiously perform the duties assigned to him and comply
with the regulations governing the arrangement and performance of
non-military national service. A serviceman who violates or neglects
his duty may be disciplined by warning, extra working time (at most
four hours per day for five days) or loss of per diems for at most
30 days. The regular working time is 40 hours per week.
to section 29 of the Non-Military National Service Decree (1991/1725)
the workplace of the serviceman must take the necessary measures
to scrutinize any violations of duty. An investigation must be started
after that, unless the matter is so insignificant that it can be
ignored or addressed by an oral reprimand. The investigation covers
the compilation of information necessary for the resolution of the
matter, concerning the infraction, the guilt of the serviceman under
suspicion and the other relevant circumstances. If the serviceman
is to be heard, minutes must be kept in the investigation. Prior
to the hearing the serviceman must be notified of the matter being
investigated and of his status in it. The minutes must be given
to him to be read and approved; any comments he may have must be
added to the minutes.
to the resolution of a disciplinary matter the serviceman must have
an opportunity to inspect the minutes and the other information
compiled in the investigation and to submit a statement on them.
The decision is to be in writing; it must indicate the time when
it was notified to the serviceman and contain the necessary appeal
instructions. The decision is subject to appeal before the county
court in whose jurisdiction the workplace is located. Only a few
appeals have come to the knowledge of the Ministry of Labour.
instructions and the training provided to the workplaces used in
non-military national service emphasize the correct disciplinary
on Patient Rights
Act on Patient Rights (1992/785) entered into force on 1 March 1993.
It contains the basic legal principles relating to the care and
treatment of patients. The Act also clarifies and reinforces the
legal protection of patients and promotes the creation of trusting
doctor-patient relationships in the increasingly complex and technical
system of modern medical care. The Act applies to both public and
private medical care.
to the Act a patient has the right to high-quality medical care.
The treatment and the care of the patient must be arranged so that
his dignity is not violated and his convictions and privacy are
respected. The provider of medical care is liable for any malpractice.
native tongue of the patient, his individual needs and culture must
be taken into account, in so far as possible, in the treatment and
care given to him. The Act also contains provisions on the patient's
access to treatment, his right to information, the right of self-determination
and the status of under-age patients. A patient who is not content
with the treatment and care he is given may object to the director
responsible for medical care in the institution in question. The
patient may use also the legal remedies that have earlier been available
to him. All municipal health centres, hospitals and other institutions
providing medical care must have an appointed patient adviser who,
inter alia, advises and assists the patients, provides information
and promotes the rights of the patients.
Mental Health Act (1990/1116) entered into force in the beginning
of 1991. According to the Act a person can be subjected to involuntary
psychiatric treatment in a hospital only if (a) he is diagnosed
as mentally ill; (b) due to the mental illness he is in need of
treatment so that no treatment would lead to a substantial deterioration
in his condition or endanger his health or safety or the health
or safety of others; and (c) no other available form of mental care
is suitable or adequate.
to considerations of the legal protection of mental patients the
Act was amended, effective from 1 January 1995. Now the continuation
of the treatment of a person who has been charged with an offence
but whose sentencing has been waived, and whom the National Board
of Medicolegal Affairs has subjected to involuntary treatment, is
no longer submitted for confirmation to the Board, but instead to
a county court. In the trial before the county court the patient
has the right to representation, cost-free proceedings and an oral
under-age person may also be subjected to involuntary psychiatric
treatment if, due to a severe mental disorder, he is in need of
treatment so that no treatment would lead to a substantial deterioration
in his condition or endanger his health or safety or the health
or safety of others and if no other available form of mental care
is suitable. Since the beginning of 1993, the involuntary treatment
of an under-age person has had to be arranged in an institution
that has both the resources and the capability necessary for the
task. An under-age person must be treated separately from adults,
unless it is deemed in the best interests of the under-age person
not to do so.
of torture victims
the initiative of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the
Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims started operations under
the aegis of the Helsinki Deaconesses' Institute on 1 September
1993. The Centre is a specialized medical institution which concentrates
on the mental and physical rehabilitation of the torture victims
who have come to Finland, estimates the need for rehabilitation
resources and prepares plans for rehabilitation. It also provides
training, consulting and advisory services to social and medical
workers and conducts studies. The brochure published by the Helsinki
Deaconesses' Institute on the operations of the Rehabilitation Centre
for Torture Victims has been annexed to this report, in English
and in French.
to the amendments (1990/139) to the Child Welfare Act (1983/683)
the wishes and opinion of the child must be taken into account when
determining what is in the best interests of the child. In addition
to the custodian, a child of 15 or over has the right to speak for
himself in a child welfare case concerning himself, and a child
of 12 or over must have an opportunity to be heard.
child of 12 or over also has the right to request certain child
welfare services. Before a decision is made on the taking of a child
into social care, on fostering and on the return of the child from
social care, the municipal social affairs board must always inquire
for the wishes and opinion of the child, if this is possible with
regard to his age and maturity, and to ensure that a child of 12
or over has an opportunity to be heard. Where necessary, the board
must also hear experts in child development.
to the amendments to the Child Welfare Decree the care and custody
of a child must be arranged and the child must be treated with respect
for his privacy. Further, the care and custody must be arranged
so that the distance from the place where he lives does not prevent
contact with persons who are important to the child. Treatment for
a severe mental disorder must be given in surroundings intended
for children or families that are as familiar as possible to the
child, in a surrogate family, family home or institution.
question has been raised in certain recent trials of who should
be representing the child when there is suspicion or knowledge that
he has been abused at home. For instance, a court of appeal has
ruled that the municipal social affairs board did not have the right
to speak for the child before the court, even though the child had
been taken into social care. In matters relating to property, a
trustee is appointed for the child when there is a risk of a conflict
of interest between the child and a parent. In contrast, in matters
relating to the person of the child the legislation does not allow
for this option.
1992 and 1993 the Parliamentary Ombudsman made a number of inspection
visits to State reformatories. During the visits he paid special
attention to the human rights and legal protection of the children
placed in the reformatories.
Child Welfare Act and Decree contain detailed provisions on the
time limits and procedures that apply if the basic rights and fundamental
freedoms of children need to be restricted owing to reasons of treatment.
Coercive measures and restrictions may only be used on the basis
of treatment or upbringing and not as punishment. Some procedural
failures were noted in the inspections; the reformatories in question
were admonished for them. The Ombudsman has also heard complaints,
filed by children, of the practices relating to the restriction
of their basic rights in surrogate homes.
of the social and medical services
aim of the social and medical services is to move away from institution
service and towards outpatient service. The development of service
is intended to improve the humaneness of treatment and care as well
as the chances of the patient to have a voice in matters concerning
himself. The main principles of the development are laid down in
the national social and medical care programme, which the Council
of State adopts annually, in connection with the draft budget. The
programme is distributed to the county governments, central hospitals
and municipal health centres to be used as a guideline.
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is in the process of reforming
the legislation relating to social and medical care; the first phase
of the reform involves the provisions relating to the status and
legal protection of the customers.
Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment
European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment entered into force in Finland
in April 1991. In the report of the CPT none of the recommendations
involved the social and medical services directly. However, certain
recommendations pertained to the welfare of the customers of the
social and medical services. For instance, the Committee expressed
its concern of the fact that the Töölö detox centre did not have
a medic on duty on a full-time basis. It was also recommended that
all new prisoners be given a medical check-up as soon as possible
after their admission into prison. The Prison Administration was
also exhorted to prepare instructions for the prevention of prisoner
suicides. Finland has declared that prison personnel is trained
in the prevention of suicides. The launching of a dedicated programme
for the prevention of suicides will be subject to a separate decision.
minorities and foreigners in Finland
Finland submitted its first report, legislative adjustments have
been carried out on the basis of the comments made by the Committee
human rights group of Parliament has heard citizens' organizations
on, inter alia, ethnic issues and the status of foreigners.
There has been some debate on the reinforcing of the offices of
the Parliamentary Ombudsman and/or the Immigration Ombudsman. The
establishment of an office of a special human rights ombudsman has
also been under consideration. This office would be set up along
the lines of the corresponding Swedish office.
to the Advisory Board for Romany Affairs a disproportionate number
of prisoners belongs to the Finnish Romany minority. The police
maintain a special computerized register of the Romany population.
There have also been complaints of discrimination against them in
prisons. Especially in 1993 and 1994, the criminal workers of the
Church, among others received a number of complaints of ethnic discrimination.
lack of a common language and cultural differences are problems
specific to Finland with regard to foreign prisoners. Half of the
some 60 foreign prisoners in Finland have been placed in prisons
in Helsinki and the rest have been spread over various other institutions.
It is evident that a lone foreigner who does not understand Finnish
and cannot make himself understood runs the risk of abuse from the
1990, human rights instruction has been given an increased role
in the training of prison personnel.
Finnish prison chaplains participated in the 1992 human rights seminar
of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France.
new Immigration Act (1991/378) was issued on 22 February 1991. It
entered into force on 1 March 1991. The Act was amended by the Act
of 28 June 1993 (1993/639), which entered into force on 15 July
1993. The purpose of the new Immigration Act is to improve the legal
protection of foreigners. The authorities retain, nevertheless,
the necessary powers to prevent international terrorism and the
expansion of crime. It intended to continue to improve the protection
of, in particular, those foreigners who are in need of asylum.
5 of the Immigration Act, which deals with asylum, is entitled "Shelter
from persecution". The provision on asylum in the Act (sect.
30) is based on the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status
of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol.
to section 31 of the Act an asylum-seeker who is denied asylum may
be granted a permit to remain owing to his need of shelter, if it
is considered that he cannot safely return to his country of origin
or habitual residence. According to section 20 a foreigner may also
be granted a permit to remain for an important humanitarian reason.
is provision of the expedited consideration of clearly ill-founded
(sect. 32, para. 2) and manifestly ill-founded (sect. 34) applications
in order to ensure that the applications of people who are in genuine
need of asylum or shelter can be considered in a reasonable time.
Ministry of the Interior's decision on asylum is subject to appeal
before an independent judicial organ, the Asylum Board (sect. 57).
The members of the Board have the responsibility of a judge. The
right of appeal has been extended to cover the Ministry of the Interior's
decision finding that the asylum-seeker is not in need of shelter
1993 the Asylum Board ruled on 247 appeals against the Ministry's
decisions on asylum and permits to remain. Six appeals were accepted
by granting asylum (in one case asylum was granted to an entire
family) and in 15 cases the foreigner was granted a permit to remain
owing to his need of shelter. In 1994 the Board ruled on 242 appeals.
Asylum was granted in 4 and a permit to remain in 54 cases.
regard to the legal protection of the asylum-seeker, it should be
noted that the asylum process is in Finland followed by another,
separate process for the compulsory expulsion of the foreigner,
either by turning him back from the border or deporting him. Further,
an asylum-seeker whose application has been rejected has the right
of appeal against a turn-back or deportation decision of the Ministry
of the Interior before the Supreme Administrative Court (sect. 58).
6 of the Immigration Act contains provisions on the exclusion and
expulsion of foreigners. The grounds for turn-back (sect. 37) and
deportation (sect. 40) are set out in detail. According to sections
38 and 41 of the Immigration Act the authority considering turn-back
or deportation must pay special attention to the fact that no one
is to be sent to a place where he runs the risk of abuse or persecution,
as referred to in the asylum provision (sect. 30) of the Act, nor
to a place from where he could be sent to such a place. Thus, the
Act contains an express return ban, which is provided for, inter
alia, in article 3 of the Convention against Torture.
to section 58 of the Immigration Act a turn-back or deportation
decision of the Ministry of the Interior is subject to appeal before
the Supreme Administrative Court. All the same, a turn-back decision
may under section 62 be enforced regardless of appeal, unless the
Supreme Administrative Court grants a stay of enforcement. A deportation
decision may be enforced before it becomes final only if the foreigner
consents to the enforcement in the presence of two impartial witnesses.
A total of 476 foreigners, most of them asylum-seekers, were deported
in 1993. There were fewer deportations (163) in 1994.
1993 the Immigration Centre of the Ministry of the Interior and
the passport control officials turned back 1,165 and 1,409 foreigners,
respectively, 189 appeals were lodged against turn-back decisions
before the Supreme Administrative Court. In 1994 the Immigration
Centre made 432 turn-back decisions and the passport control officials
year the Supreme Administrative Court reversed quite a few turn-back
and deportation decisions. Reference was made in the grounds for
the judgements inter alia, to article 7 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to articles 3 and 8 of
the European Convention on Human Rights. In 1993 the Court received
441 appeals relating to foreigners (mostly against turn-back and
deportation decisions) and in 1994 somewhat fewer, i.e. 282 appeals.
In 1993 58 appeals were accepted outright and 29 were returned for
a new consideration; in 1994 the corresponding numbers were 39 and
provisions on the administrative custody of foreigners in chapter
7 of the Immigration Act correspond to a great degree to those contained
since 1990 in the previous Act.
to section 48 of the Immigration Act the police officer deciding
on administrative custody must, without delay and at the latest
on the following day, notify the administrative custody to the lower
court in whose jurisdiction the foreigner is being kept in custody.
The court must consider the case without delay and at the latest
on the fourth day after the foreigner was taken into custody. According
to section 49 of the Immigration Act the court must immediately
release the foreigner if there is no sufficient cause for administrative
custody. According to section 50 the police officer who decided
on administrative custody must order the immediate release of the
foreigner when there is no longer sufficient cause for administrative
a foreigner held in detention has not been ordered released, the
lower court for the district where the detainee is held must, under
section 51, on its own initiative reconsider the matter no later
than two weeks after the date on which the court ordered that the
detainee continue to be held in custody. According to section 47
the foreigner must be kept in administrative custody in a place
that is suitable for the purpose. The provisions on the treatment
of remand prisoners apply, where appropriate, to the treatment of
a person in administrative custody.
1 of the Immigration Act contains a provision under which the rights
of foreigners cannot be restricted more than what is necessary.
to the Parliamentary Ombudsman
to the instructions of the Committee against Torture, the reports
and supplementary reports to the Committee must include, inter
alia, information on any complaints of torture or other cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. During the period
covered by this supplementary report no references have been made
to the Convention against Torture in the complaints addressed to
the Parliamentary Ombudsman, neither do the Ombudsman's decisions
contain any such references.
3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and article 7 of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights have been referred
to in a number of individual complaints. The pertinent decisions
have evaluated the actions of the authorities, but no violations
of the provisions have been discovered. However, during the period
covered by this supplementary report the Parliamentary Ombudsman
and the Assistant Ombudsman have in several cases criticized official
actions for having degrading or demeaning aspects; these actions
can perhaps in this context be considered cases referred to in the
instructions of the Committee.
following is a list of decisions relating to the treatment of prisoners.
They have been published in the annual report (Rep.) of the Ombudsman
and in the English summary (Summ.) to the same:
of prisoner to mental treatment: No. 756/4/89, 1991, Rep. p. 30,
Summ. p. 27;
search in prison: No. 141/4/89, 1991, Rep. p. 44, Summ. p. 41;
surveillance of a prisoner: No. 1279/4/91, 1314/4/91 and 1252/2/92,
1992, Rep. p. 69, Summ. p. 70;
remand prisoners in police premises: No. 1340/4/91, 1993, Rep. p.72;
of remand prisoner to meet close relatives: No. 442/4/93, 1993,
following decisions relate to the treatment of conscripts:
treatment of conscripts: No. 1702/2/90, 1991, Rep. p. 35, Summ.
of superior position: No. 468/4/91, 1991, Rep. p. 37, Summ. p. 35;
conscripts: No. 963/2/93, 1993, Rep. p. 39, Summ. p. 34;
of conscripts in military hospital: No. 523/4/92, 1993, Rep. p.
following decisions relate to foreigners and especially asylum-seekers:
custody of foreigners (in this case the Ombudsman made a proposal
to the Council of State, because he considered the practice of keeping
foreigners in administrative custody in police premises or county
prisons to be contrary to the legislation in force): No. 1705/4/91,
1992, Rep. p. 31, Summ. p. 23;
of asylum-seeker to counsel: No. 1478/4/89, 1991, Rep. p. 61, Summ.
of asylum-seekers: No. 111/4/91, 1991, Rep. p. 79, Summ. p. 53.
pertinent decisions involve:
in children's psychiatric ward: No. 955/4/90, 1991, Rep. p. 86,
Summ. p. 57;
of the accused in court: No. 717/4/90, 1992, Rep. p. 70, Summ. p.
the accused standing in court: No. 1080/2/92, 1993, Rep. p. 57,
Summ. p. 45;
of children's right of self-determination in reformatory: No. 971/4/91
and 1986/2/93, 1992, Rep. p. 87, Summ. p. 92 and 1993 Rep. p. 107,
Summ. p. 69.
annual reports of the Parliamentary Ombudsman from 19911993 and
their English summaries are annexed to this report.
of the European Commission of Human Rights of the Council of Europe
the case T.V. v. Finland (No. 21780/93) the Commission
handed down a decision on 2 March 1994, dismissing the complaint
and stating as its overall view that the treatment of the complainant
in a penitentiary had not been in breach of articles 3 and 8 of
the Convention on Human Rights. In the case Jarmo Koskinen
v. Finland (No. 20560/92) the Commission reached the same
conclusion in a complaint of a breach of article 3.
List of annexes*
to the Finnish Government on the visit to Finland carried out by
the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman
or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT(92)50).
report of the Government of Finland to the Interim Report in response
to the report prepared by the European Committee for the Prevention
of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, following
its visit to Finland in May 1992.
of the Government of Finland to the recommendations, comments and
requests for further information contained in the report on the
visit to Finland carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention
of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in May
of rights of persons in police custody.
on the Centre for Torture Survivors in Finland.
for consultation in the files of the Centre for Human Rights.