Practice Relating to Rule 100. Fair Trial Guarantees
Finland’s Criminal Code (1889), as amended in 2008, provides that any person who “denies a prisoner of war or another protected person the rights to a fair and lawful trial or in another manner denies him or her legal guarantees” shall be “sentenced for a war crime
to imprisonment for at least one year or for life”.
(emphasis in original)
In 2003, in its fifth periodic report to the Human Rights Committee, Finland stated:
203. Section 21 of the Finnish Constitution provides for the right of everyone to have his or her case dealt with appropriately and without undue delay by a legally competent court of law or other authority, as well as to have a decision pertaining to his or her rights or obligations reviewed by a court of law or other independent organ for the administration of justice.
206. Section 21 further requires that the guarantees of a fair trial and good governance be laid down by law. The provision sets forth, inter alia
, the most important elements of a fair trial, including the publicity of proceedings, the right to be heard, the right to receive a reasoned decision and the right of appeal. This list is nevertheless not exhaustive. Such guarantees as the right to an oral hearing, the right to legal counselling and the right to choose one’s legal counsel are not explicitly mentioned in the provision. However, these elements of protection under the law are as such part of the other guarantees of a fair trial within the meaning of the Constitution.
In 2004, in a report to Parliament on Finland’s human rights policy, Finland stated:
Persons guilty of war crimes must be prosecuted before an independent and impartial tribunal or court established by law. The basic principles of international law protecting individuals are applicable to any armed conflict irrespective of whether there are specific treaty provisions on a particular type of conflict and independently of the adherence of the parties to the conflict to them.