COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE
19 OF THE CONVENTION
Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture
120. The Committee considered the second periodic report of Finland
(CAT/C/25/Add.7) at its 249th and 250th meetings, on 2 May 1996 (CAT/C/SR.249
and 250), and has adopted the following conclusions and recommendations:
121. The Committee welcomes the detailed report of the Government
of Finland outlining the new measures and developments relating to
the implementation of the Convention that have taken place in the
State party since its submission of the initial report in October
1990. The report under consideration was prepared in accordance with
the guidelines established by the Committee and provided the additional
information that had been requested by the Committee. The Committee
also welcomes the core document (HRI/CORE/1/Add.59) submitted by the
Government providing a country profile of Finland.
122. The Committee did not receive any information on allegations
of torture in Finland.
123. The Committee takes note with satisfaction of the important steps
taken by the State party to develop further the legislative measures
relating to the implementation of the Convention. Among these measures,
the Committee notes with particular satisfaction the amendment to
the Constitution to incorporate the prohibition of torture and other
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
124. The Committee also considers important that the amendment introduces
at the highest legislative level the "normality principle",
according to which the conditions in places of detention must be similar
as far as possible to those existing in the community at large.
125. The incorporation in the Preliminary Investigation Act of detailed
provisions concerning the correct procedure for interrogation is also
a matter of satisfaction.
126. The Committee further considers as an important event the establishment
of the Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims.
127. The Committee takes note with satisfaction of the intention of
the Finnish Government to abolish the system of administrative detention.
128. In the criminal law of Finland there is no provision containing
a specific definition of torture.
129. Under Finnish law there are no provisions specifically prohibiting
the use of statements obtained under torture in judicial proceedings.
The Committee considers that such a provision could constitute a strong
preventive measure against acts of torture.
130. Although the abolition of preventive detention for dangerous
recidivists has been applied in practice, there is no information
on initiatives taken by the Finnish authorities to modify the relevant
provisions in the Dangerous Recidivists Act.
131. The Committee is concerned about the absence of sufficient legal
protection of the rights of persons who are denied asylum through
the use of a list of safe countries in which those persons could be
sent back, in the Immigration Act of Finland.
132. The Committee recommends that the State party incorporate into
its legislation the definition of torture as a specific crime committed
by a public official or other person in an official capacity in accordance
with article 1 of the Convention, considering as insufficient the
definition of assault provided in the Criminal Code of Finland.
133. The completion of the procedure for the abolition of preventive
detention is also recommended.
134. The establishment of an independent agency to investigate offences
allegedly committed by the police, a question that is now under consideration
in Finland, is likewise considered advisable by the Committee.
135. The Committee supports the idea of the reinforcement of the Immigration
Ombudsman's Office and the establishment of an office of a special
human rights ombudsman in the State party.
136. The Committee recommends that a legal protection be provided
to those persons who requested asylum and who are sent back to a country
included in the list of safe countries, by decision of the competent
authority. Decisions on expulsion, return (refoulement) or
extradition should take into account the provisions of article 3 of
137. The Committee recommends that a special provision be incorporated
into the State party's criminal procedure, concerning the exclusion
from judicial proceedings of evidence which has been established to
have been obtained, directly or indirectly, as a result of torture,
as provided for by article 15 of the Convention.