University of Minnesota

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture, Finland, U.N. Doc. A/51/44, paras. 120-137 (1996).



Convention Abbreviation: CAT


Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

G. Finland

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:

1. Introduction
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.

2. Positive aspects
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.

3. Subjects of concern
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.

4. Recommendations
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 the Convention.

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.


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