Extradition deals with handing over of suspects or sentenced persons to a foreign country for legal proceedings or service of sentence.
Extradition from Finland is regulated in the Act on Extradition. The Act contains only a few provisions on extradition to Finland. The obligation of a foreign state to extradite to Finland and the procedures involved therein are determined in international agreements.
The European Convention on Extradition is applicable between the Member States of the Council of Europe. A number of non-Member States have also acceded to the Convention, for example Israel, South Korea and South-Africa.
Extradition between the Member States of the EU (surrender) is based on the Framework Decision on the European Arrest Warrant (EAW), which was implemented in Finland by law.
Extradition between the Nordic Countries (Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland) takes place in accordance with the Nordic Arrest Warrant (NAW), which was implemented in Finland by law. Both with the EAW and NAW the competent authority to decide on surrender/extradition is Helsinki District Court.
Finland has entered into extradition arrangements also, for example, with the U.S., Canada and Australia.
Finland may extradite a suspect or a sentenced person to a foreign state in accordance with its law even in the absence of an international obligation to that end. However, in that case extradition is discretionary.
Similarly, Finland may request a suspect or a sentenced person to be extradited to Finland. Usually, the existence of an international obligation between Finland and the state in question is required.
Extradition is conditioned on the fulfillment of certain minimum requirements. Those include, for example, the severity of the offence or length of sentence and dual criminality.
Dual criminality presupposes that the act or behavior is punishable in both states. What is usually required in addition is that the maximum penalty for the offence is at least one year of imprisonment. As to extradition for enforcing a sentence, a sentence has to be at least four months of length.
The impediments to extradition involve, among other things, extradition of nationals, political offences, time limit for prosecution and the personal circumstances of the person. Finland will not extradite own nationals other than under certain conditions to the Member States of the EU and other Nordic States.
As a consequence of extradition a suspect or sentenced person shall be transferred to the State requesting extradition. The decision to extradite binds the authorities of the requesting state. An extradited person may be prosecuted, punished or deprived of his liberty only for the offences which caused extradition (Rule of Speciality).
In case additional prosecution for other offences than those listed in the extradition decision becomes necessary, consent of the requested state is required.
In the EU and Nordic States the application of the Rule of Speciality is substantially restricted.
Extradition is decided in the Ministry of Justice, whereas surrender between EU Member States and Nordic Countries is decided by Helsinki District Court on the application of a prosecutor.
Legislation and Agreements
The following acts and agreements can be found in Finlex
Extradition Act (456/1970)
Act on Extradition between Finland and other Nordic countries (1383/2007)
Act on Extradition on the Basis of an Offence between Finland and Other Member States of the Eu-ropean Union (1286/2003)
Taina Neira, Senior Specialist, Legal Affairs
Ministry of Justice, Department for Private Law and Administration of Justice, International Judicial Assistance international legal assistance in criminal matters extradition transfer of sentenced persons Telephone:0295150070
Sonja Varpasuo, Senior Specialist
Ministry of Justice, Department for Private Law and Administration of Justice, International Judicial Assistance international legal assistance in criminal matters extradition transfer of sentenced persons Telephone:0295150073