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Recodifying the Finnish Criminal Code of 1889: Towards a More Efficient, Just and Humane Criminal Law

  • Raimo Lahti (a1)

Extract

Finland, along with the other Nordic or Scandinavian countries, belongs to the so-called civil law tradition. Countries following this tradition include Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. All of these nations are advanced, industrialized welfare states. The Nordic countries have pursued economic, social and cultural development along similar lines, and have cooperated intensively in legal and political matters.

Various means of Nordic cooperation have been developed since the Second World War, and these interstate activities have become even more diversified since the 1960s. The objectives and organs of cooperation between the States were laid down in a special treaty signed in 1962. The treaty covers cooperation in the legal, cultural, social and economic spheres as well as in traffic and environmental matters. Efficient cooperation in criminal law is based on a variety of sources, consisting primarily of the treaties between the Nordic countries, multilateral European conventions, common basic approaches in crime control and human rights policies, uniform legislation in relevant areas, and established practice between state authorities.

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1 See Lahti, R., “Sub-Regional Cooperation in Criminal Matters: The Experience of the Nordic Countries”, in Bser, A., Lagodny, O., eds., Principles and Procedures far a New Transnational Criminal Law (Freiburg i.Br., 1992) 306.

2 See, e.g., Lahti, R., “Current Trends in Criminal Policy in the Scandinavian Countries”, in Bishop, N., ed., Scandinavian Criminal Policy and Criminology 1980–85 (Copenhagen, 1985) 59.

3 See generally, Stangeland, P., ed., Drugs and Drug Control, Scandinavian Studies in Criminology (Oslo, 1987) vol. 8.

4 See, e.g., Sveri, K., “Criminal Law and Penal Sanctions”, in Snare, A., ed., Scandinavian Studies in Criminology (Oslo, 1990) vol. 11, p. 11.

5 For a fuller account, see Lahti, R., “On Finnish and Scandinavian Criminal Policy”, (1989) Cahiers de Défense Sociale 64.

6 See also Lahti, R., “Zur Entwicklung der Kriminalpolitik in Finnland”, in Festschrift für Hans-Heinrich Jescheck (Berlin, 1986) vol. II, p. 871, at 884.

7 Cf., i.e., Lacey, N., “Justice and Efficiency in Criminal Justice”, in Butler, W.E., ed., Justice and Comparative Law (Dordrecht, 1987) 91, at 98, and Ashworth, A., “Towards a Theory of Criminal Legislation”, (1989) 1 Criminal L. Forum 41, at 43.

8 See, e.g., Lappi-Seppälä, T., “Penal Policy and Sentencing Theory in Finland”, in Lahti, R. et al. , eds., Criminal Policy and Sentencing in Transition (Helsinki, 1992) 3, at 7.

9 See Amendments to the Penal Code and to the Decree on the Enforcement of the Penal Code (Department of Legislation, Ministry of Justice, Helsinki, 1991). The publication is a supplement to the Penal Code of Finland and the Decree on the Enforcement of the Penal Code (Research Institute of Legal Policy, Helsinki, 1983).

10 See Lahti, R., “Diversion from Criminal Justice — Some Experiences from Finland”, in Hungarian-Finnish Penal Law Seminary on Petty Offences (Budapest, 1984) 119.

11 For a follow-up study concerning this sanction, see Takala, J.-P., “Finland's Experiment with Community Service”, in Rapport fra kontaktseminar om samfunnstjeneste (Scandinavian Research Council for Criminology, Oslo, 1993) 32.

12 Regarding the latter group of offences, see Pihlajamäki, A., “Computer Crimes and Other Crimes against Information Technology in Finland”, (1993) 64 Revue Internationale de Droit Pénal 275.

13 See generally, Pellinen, T., “The Finnish System of Penal Sanctions and Its Reform”, in Lahti, R., Nuotio, K., eds., Towards a Total Reform of Finnish Criminal Law (Helsinki, 1990) 159, and Part 1 (the papers of T. Lappi-Seppälä, A. Hirvonen, H. Kiuru and T. Pellinen) in Criminal Policy and Sentencing in Transition, supra n. 8.

14 See generally, Lahti, R., Nuotio, K., eds., Criminal Law Theory in Transition (Finnish Lawyers' Publishing Co., Helsinki, 1992)passim.

15 For a more detailed analysis, see R. Lahti, “Die Gesamtreform des finnischen Strafgesetzes: Zielsetzung und Stand der Reformarbeit bis 1991: insbesondere im Blick auf die erste Phase der Gesamtreform”, in Criminal Law Theory in Transition, ibid., at 27.

16 Weber, M., Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft (Tübingen, 1985) 12.

17 Cf. the distinction between policy and principle considerations, Dworkin, R., Taking Rights Seriously (London, 1977) 22.

18 Foreman, J., “The New Proposal for a Swiss Criminal Code” (in Finnish), in: (1898) 34 Tidskrift utgifven af Juridiska Föreningen i Finland 177, at 180.

19 See, e.g., Joutsen, M., “Legitimation and the Limits of the Criminal Justice System” (1992) 1 European J. Criminal Policy and Research 9.

20 See also Lahti, R., “Finland: National Report” (Concept and Principles of Economic and Business Criminal Law), (1983) 54 Revue Internationale de Droit Pénal 249.

21 For a fuller account of the reasoning of the Criminal Law Committee, see Lahti, R., “The Utilization of Criminological Research in Finnish Criminal Law Reform”, in Towards a Total Reform of Finnish Criminal Law, supra n. 13, at 39.

22 For the explanation of this development, see Törnudd, P., “Fifteen Years of Decreasing Prisoner Rates in Finland” (National Research Institute of Legal Policy, unpublished paper, 29 June 1991).

23 See, e.g., Lahti, R., “Criminal Sanctions in Finland: A System in Transition” (1977) 21 Scandinavian Studies in Law 119, at 128.

24 See, in particular, the critique by Hassemer, W., “Symbolisches Strafrecht und Rechtsgüterschutz” (1989) Neue Zeitschrift für Strafrecht 553.Cf. also the “minimalistic approach” of the Israeli criminal law reform, Kremnitzer, M., “The Israeli Proposal for a New General Part of a Penal Code — An Introduction”, in Criminal Law Theory in Transition, supra n. 14, at 63.

25 See the appendices 1–2 in the work Criminal Law Theory in Transition, supra n. 14. The contributions to this book were devoted to the Finnish criminal law reform.

26 A. Ashworth, supra n. 7, at 41, regards these values as essentially formal virtues of codification.

27 On the draft proposals in this respect, see Lappi-Seppälä, T., “The Doctrine of Criminal Liability and the Draft Criminal Code for Finland”, in Criminal Law Theory in Transition, supra n. 14, at 228. For an Israeli reform plan, cf. M. Kremnitzer, supra n. 24, at 61.

28 See, in particular, Frände, D., “Die Gefahrdungsdelikte — Struktur und Begründung”, in Criminal Law Theory in Transition, supra n. 14, at 349.

29 On this discussion see, e.g., Sevón, K., “‘Legality, Efficiency and Legitimacy’: Some Comments on the Legitimacy Problems of Modern Criminal Law”, in Towards a Total Reform of Finnish Criminal Law, supra n. 13, at 181, and “The Concepts of ‘Rechtsgut’, ‘Handlung’ and ‘Schuld’”, in Criminal Law Theory in Transition, supra n. 14, at 126.

30 See Criminal Law Theory in Transition, supra n. 14, at 687, and T. Lappi-Seppälä, supra n. 27, at 214.

31 Cf. the detailed discussions on this topic in German, e.g., Kunz, K.-L., “Prevention und gerechte Zurechnung”, (1986) 98 Zeitschrift für die gesamte Strafrechtswissenschaft 823.

32 Cf. generally, Eser, A., Fletcher, George P., eds., Rechtfertigung und Entschuldigung (Justification and Excuse) (Freiburg i.Br., 19871988), vols. I–II, in particular the German-Anglo-American debate.

33 See also Lahti, R., “Neues in der finnischen Strafrechtswissenschaft und in den allgemeinen Lehren des finnischen Strafrechts” (1991) 103 Zeitschrift für die gesamte Strafrechtswissenschaft 521, at 533.Cf. generally T. Lappi-Seppälä, supra n. 27, at 215.

34 See, in particular, Roxin, C., Kriminalpolitik und Strafrechtssystem (München, 2nd ed., 1973) and Roxin, , Strafrecht. Allgemeiner Teil (München, 1992). See also, e.g., Schünemann, B., ed., Grundfragen des modernen Strafrechtssystems (Berlin, 1984).

35 Liszt, F. von, “Über den Einfluss der soziologischen und anthropologischen Forschungen auf die Grundbegriffe des Strafrechte”, in Strafrechtliche Aufsätze und Vorträge (Berlin, 1905), vol. II, p. 75.

36 For a more detailed analysis, see R. Lahti, supra n. 33, at 535.

37 See Lappi-Seppälä, T., On Sentencing (in Finnish with an English Summary) (Vammala, 1987), at 120, 252, 262 and 598.

38 See Frände, D., “The Dogmatics of Criminal Law and Criminal Policy” (in Swedish) (1985) 18 Oikeustiede — Jurisprudent 5, at 29, 37, 46 and 48.

39 In the sense used by R. Dworkin, supra n. 17.

40 See, e.g., Fletcher, G.P., “Utilitarismus und Prinzipiendenken im Strafrecht” (1989) 101 Zeitschrift für die gesamte Strafrechtswissenschaft 803, at 813.

41 On this kind of reasoning in general, see Alexy, R., “Rechtsregeln und Rechtsprinzipien” (1985) Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie (Beiheft 25) 13.

42 See chap. 3, sec. 4, para. 2 of the Penal Code.

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Recodifying the Finnish Criminal Code of 1889: Towards a More Efficient, Just and Humane Criminal Law

  • Raimo Lahti (a1)

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