Monthly Archives: December 2014

Police corruption even in Finland

A country is in deep trouble if those who are supposed to protect the people, such as police, courts or military, become corrupt.

In some parts of the world, people take that situation for granted. I remember reporting a crime to the police in Bolivia, where I was working, A colleague who lives there remarked that he would never go to the police, if he was the victim of a crime. As I understood him, he ment that going to the police was useless and he had no confidence in them at all. Another colleague from there excused the police for their handling of the case, by saying whith a bit of humor that one must understand the police too and that is must be difficult for them to change from their traditional role of chasing political dissidents to now be fighting real crime under a more democratic government.

In other countries, people assume that corruprion is almost non-existent. That is often the case in the Nordic coutries, which typically get good results in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. However, there are cases showing that corruption can be a problem anywhere. Recently, such a case was reported from Finland.

This week, the trial started in a Finnish bribery and drug case, where the main indicted is the country’s leading drug police chief. He is also suspected of aiding prostitution and having links to a major criminal organization. Read more in Finnish, Swedish or English.

It is the accountability that counts

The recent report on torture carried out by the USA received much attention already before it was published. For example, we were reminded by Dan Froomkin about important caveats to keep in mind. The report was a big step towards justice, but many cases were actually already known to the public and the real test of justice is if anyone will be held accountable for the torture (and for similar crimes not included in the report). We all know that the legal system does not work as it should in the USA. That nation with “liberty and justice for all”, simply does not exist any longer (if it ever did). Unfortunately the same thing can be said about many other parts of the world, too. But don’t give up. We live in dark times now, but one day the light will come back. That will probably happen sooner, if we all say that we don’t accept the atrocities, nor the impunity. One way to do that is to sign the petition Stop Torture: Accountability: YES – Impunity: NO.