Finland - International Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters 1994 EN

Chapter 2
Provision of assistance

Section 7
Form and content of requests

A request for assistance transmitted by an authority of a foreign State to a Finnish authority may be made in writing, as a recording or orally; it may also be transmitted in an electronic message. Where the service of summons, notice, decision or other document is requested, the request shall be accompanied or supplemented by the document to be served. Where the authenticity of the request or any accompanying document is doubtful the Ministry of Justice or the competent authority may request for the necessary confirmation in writing. The request and the accompanying documents are exempt from legalisation or any similar formality.

The request shall, to the extent necessary for the proper execution of the request, indicate:

1) the authority making the request and the court or other authority where the criminal matter on which the request is based is subject to proceedings or investigations;

2) the object of and reason for the request;

3) the necessary information available on the persons concerned;

4) a description of the offence on which the request is based and the applicable provisions of criminal law;

5) a brief summary of the criminal act and the related facts, except where the service of a document is requested;

6) a description of the evidence sought and the information on documents and evidence; as well as

7) allowances and expenses to which a witness or expert requested to appear before an authority of the requesting State is entitled.

The request may be executed although the requirements provided for in paragraph 1 or 2 are not fully met, where the defects do not prevent the execution of the request.

Section 8
Language and translations

The request and the accompanying documents shall be in Finnish or in Swedish, or be accompanied by a translation into either of these languages. It may be enacted by Decree that the request and the accompanying documents may be in a foreign language.

A competent authority may execute a request for assistance even where the request and the related documents are in a foreign language provided by Decree or in another foreign language, provided that the execution of the request is not otherwise precluded according to this Act. However, the competent authority may refuse to execute the request, where the request and the documents are not in Finnish or in Swedish, nor accompanied by translations into these languages, if the authority deems that it does not have a sufficient understanding of the language used in the documents. The Ministry of Justice shall be responsible for carrying out translations from foreign languages into Finnish and Swedish as will be enacted by Decree.

A document to be served need not be accompanied by a translation where the service may be executed without a translation under section 17, paragraph 2.

Chapter 3
Specific provisions on the provision of assistance

Section 17

A document shall be served in accordance with paragraph 1, if the document to be served is in Finnish or in Swedish or accompanied by a translation to either of these languages. In other cases the service may be carried out by delivery of the document to the addressee who accepts it voluntarily. However, the service may be carried out in accordance with paragraph 1, where it is evident that the addressee has a sufficient understanding of the language of the document or the accompanying translation.

Rome Statute

Article 50 Official and working languages

1. The official languages of the Court shall be Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. The judgements of the Court, as well as other decisions resolving fundamental issues before the Court, shall be published in the official languages. The Presidency shall, in accordance with the criteria established by the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, determine which decisions may be considered as resolving fundamental issues for the purposes of this paragraph.

2. The working languages of the Court shall be English and French. The Rules of Procedure and Evidence shall determine the cases in which other official languages may be used as working languages.

3. At the request of any party to a proceeding or a State allowed to intervene in a proceeding, the Court shall authorize a language other than English or French to be used by such a party or State, provided that the Court considers such authorization to be adequately justified.

Article 55 Rights of persons during an investigation

2. Where there are grounds to believe that a person has committed a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court and that person is about to be questioned either by the Prosecutor, or by national authorities pursuant to a request made under Part 9, that person shall also have the following rights of which he or she shall be informed prior to being questioned:

(c) To have legal assistance of the person's choosing, or, if the person does not have legal assistance, to have legal assistance assigned to him or her, in any case where the interests of justice so require, and without payment by the person in any such case if the person does not have sufficient means to pay for it; and

Article 87 Requests for cooperation: general provisions

2. Requests for cooperation and any documents supporting the request shall either be in or be accompanied by a translation into an official language of the requested State or one of the working languages of the Court, in accordance with the choice made by that State upon ratification, acceptance, approval or accession. Subsequent changes to this choice shall be made in accordance with the Rules of Procedure and Evidence.