April 2006 - 93. årgang Nr. 1
1. Mika Illman:
Holocaust Denial and Other Forms of Public Denial of Known Genocides.
The aim of this article is to discuss the matter of Holocaust denial and other forms of public denial of known genocides. The following question is presented: Should it be considered a criminal offence for someone to publicly state that the Nazi war crimes of the Second World War never took place and to argue that those who claim such actions occurred are liars and guilty of fraud? Or should such statements be protected under the right to freedom of speech? The analysis begins with an examination of the freedom of speech, which is guaranteed by the constitutions of Finland and various other nations, as well as by several international conventions on human rights. In part of my article, I scrutinize two separate cases tried by different international human rights organs. Following an analysis of this material and reflection on the problem as a whole, I draw the conclusion that the cases analysed suggest that the national legislator is allowed, to a certain extent, to criminalize statements of the kind in question, and thereby to limit freedom of speech in this respect. Different countries have taken different steps in their efforts to combat this kind of propaganda. German law includes some prohibitions specifically referring to Holocaust denial, whereas Swedish law, for example, simply applies the general prohibition against racial agitation to (also more general) statements of Holocaust denial. In my opinion, there is no reason why the general prohibition against racial agitation in the Finnish criminal code could not be applied in a similar manner. In fact, there is currently a case of this character pending in the Helsinki Court of Appeals.
2. Peter Lindström:
Zero Tolerance Policing: Flip or Flop?
Zero tolerance policing (ZTP) has now been on the criminological and political agenda for more than a decade. The meaning of this concept, i.e. taking firm police action against disorder and minor offences, was known as “aggressive policing” in the 1980s. In “Broken Windows” theory it is argued that intensified police initiatives against disorder will have an impact on serious crime. The astonishing decline in homicide and other serious offences in New York since the early 1990s has been taken as proof of the theory’s validity. This article reviews the literature on zero tolerance policing and investigates the relationship between ZTP and robbery, burglary, and car theft in Sweden. In line with the findings from several other studies, a negative relationship is noted between an index measuring zero tolerance policing and robbery, at least in Stockholm. The overall conclusion, however, is that ZTP is not a miracle medicine against serious offences.
3. Johannes Knutsson:
Police Use of Firearms in Norway and Sweden.
There seems to be an almost universal tendency to assume that police work is getting ever more dangerous and that the police, as a consequence, have to use their firearms more frequently. A special case is the occurrence of “cascading events”, i.e., incidents in which a single action triggers multiple, often serious, consequences. Trends in police officers’ use of firearms in Norway and Sweden during the last few decades are examined. Norway has an unarmed force while Sweden has a regularly armed police force. Norwegian police officers are trained in the use of firearms, but have to get authorisation from a chief of police before they may arm themselves. Their arms are either stored in police stations or are stowed unloaded in sealed bags in patrol cars. After an incident in which two officers were shot to death in Norway in 1998, the number of cases in which police draw firearms to threaten suspects tripled to about 60 incidents per year. However, incidents where police open fire have remained stable at about 2 to 3 cases per year for the entire Norwegian police force. The consequences of these shootings in terms of injured or killed civilians have also been stable at about one civilian injured per year. In 1999, two Swedish police officers were murdered with their own service weapons by three bank robbers. Yet this event seems to have had no effect on the frequency with which Swedish police officers draw their firearms. During an average year in Sweden, police officers fire their weapons in connection with about 25 incidents, injure civilians in about 7 incidents, and kill about one civilian. For both countries, the stability in the frequency of shootings is striking.
4. Nils Christie:
Punishment or Mediation.
Greenland is in the process of rapid modernization. This puts pressure on its old legal solutions. The question is raised as to whether it is possible within the current context to continue a tradition with at least some proximity to the old customs of the land. A commission for legal reform proposes the maintenance of strong reliance on lay judges. But at the same time, a call for greater punishment is receiving a prominent position in the proposed reforms.
The article argues that this increased reliance on punishment is a mistake. Greenland already has a very high number of prisoners and the country ought to establish a system whereby restorative justice is initiated before conflicts reach the penal courts. A condition would, of course, be that the parties accept the idea to meet for mediation. Mediation ought to be attempted even in the most serious of cases. If the results of mediation were seen as unacceptable by the prosecution, and such cases came before the court, sensible judges would simply take the results of mediation into consideration when deciding the final sanction.
Berit Johnsen & Birgitte Langset Storvik:
Trends in the Use of Preventive Detention 2002-2005.
In Norway, a new law on preventive detention took effect on January 1, 2002. The purpose of the law is to protect the public from offenders who are considered to be dangerous. In principle, there is no upper time limit to a sentence of preventive detention. However, when the court sentences a person to preventive detention, it has to set a time frame which cannot exceed 21 years. The court can prolong the sentence at a later date if it considers the convicted person still too dangerous for release.
This study focuses on legal usage with respect to the new law on preventive detention. During the four years since the law came into effect, the courts have passed 100 sentences of preventive detention. Six of these sentences have been applied to women. The study shows that more sentences of preventive detention have been passed than one should expect. Preventive detention is primarily used to punish serious offences like murder and sexually related crimes. So far, 26 persons have been released or released on parole from preventive detention. According to current regulations, a person can be released on parole from preventive detention when he or she is no longer considered a danger to the public. In other words, persons serving preventive detention have to change during imprisonment. Legal practice sometimes differs from the regulations in this matter, and some prisoners have been released on parole based on a court ruling that the prison has nothing more to offer them in terms of possibilities for change. So far, two persons have had their sentences prolonged by two years.
August 2006 - 93. årgang Nr. 2
Sex Offences – Proposals for Amendments to the Icelandic Penal Code
In recent years, provisions on sexual offences in Iceland’s penal law have been criticized by scholars and institutions working in the interests of women and children. Since the author of this article has conducted research on these offences, Iceland’s Minister of Justice asked her to author a bill suggesting new provisions on sexual offences in the Penal Code. The current article describes the changes she suggested to the provisions on rape, as well as those made in regard to other sexual offences against adults, sexual offences against children, and prostitution. The political context surrounding work on the bill is described, as is the unique method applied in its presentation - where the public was given an opportunity to comment on it prior to its submission to the Althing
Cooperative Penal Law within a Borderless Nordic Territory
This article suggests that the Nordic countries create a common legal area for criminal justice. A case in another country should, when it comes to legal cooperation, be treated as a domestic case. The effect would be that all legal boundaries for cooperation and enforcement of decisions over the borders.
The Nordic countries have a history of intensive interaction, not least in the field of criminal law on both practical questions and theoretical matters. In 1960, an important meeting on Nordic criminal law was held in Reykjavik. One of the topics discussed was the relationship between intent and mistake of law. At that time, criminal intent was not yet defined in the criminal codes of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The current paper discusses the later development of the law on criminal intent in these countries, especially in Finland
Limits for Arrangements with the Prosecution
The article is based on a presentation held at a meeting of the Danish Criminological Association (Dansk Kriminologisk Selskab) in May 2006. The subject of the meeting was “Limits for arrangements with the prosecution”. The Danish penal system does not allow plea bargaining. The question, however, is to what extent agreements aimed at a reduction in punishment can and should be entered into by the prosecution and the accused in order to secure a conviction. In the article, the fundamental legal problems in making agreements are analysed and discussed. It is concluded – to the extent that there are any advantages or necessities whatsoever in making agreements with the accused – that exact rules for the “reward” offered to the accused should be included in the penal code rather than being a secret arrangement between the prosecution and the accused.
The Crime Victim, Crime Policy and Criminology
The emergence of the crime victim has played a central role in the substantial changes witnessed in the field of Swedish crime policy over the past generation or so. These changes have involved both an expansion of penal justice controls and a questioning of traditional legal principles that have protected the rights of citizens vis-á-vis the state. They have also led to a shift in the way the perpetrators of crime are perceived, and this has in turn affected constructions of the crime victim. The crime-victim discourse also constitutes a challenge to traditional criminology in a number of important respects. These trends should be understood not only against the background of a general shift in perceptions of the victims of crime, but also as a means employed by the state and politicians to create legitimacy and consensus.
Leif Petter Olaussen:
Increasing Acceptance of the Prison Sentence among Norwegians
Data from the Norwegian samples of the International Crime Victims Survey (ICVS) for 1989 and 2004 show that a majority of Norwegians do not recommend imprisonment for a thief who steals a TV. The data do, however, indicate that sentences to imprisonment were more acceptable to Norwegians in 2004 than in 1989. In both years, the proportion of different demographic groups (based on age, sex, education) recommending imprisonment was fairly equal, thus suggesting only minor differences in penal attitudes across sub-populations. However, women with high or medium education seem to be less punitive than men with equal education. In accordance with many other studies, this study finds no correlation between punitive attitudes and victimization for burglary or other serious thefts, and no correlation between punitive attitudes and assumed probability of house burglary coming year. It is argued that the lack of correlation only rejects a supposed connection between direct victimization and penal attitudes, but does not exclude that both direct and indirect exposure to crime may lead to more punitive attitudes. One explanation for the absence of a difference in penal attitudes between victims and non-victims may be that frequent indirect exposure to crime through the media has the same effect as direct exposure. The change in penal attitude towards imprisonment does not seem to be restricted to one or a few subgroups in the population, but is most pronounced for regions outside the most highly urbanized part of Norway and among younger people. Several possible explanations for this change are discussed: Higher exposure to crime, especially through the media; more incidences of dramatic and serious crimes where guns are used; media discussions of proposals for more severe punishments; and the parliament’s passing of several laws to that effect during the 1990s. Finally, connections between “immigrants” and serious crime in the media’s coverage of crime may also have influenced the attitudinal change which has taken place.
Inmates and Psychic Health
This article refers to results obtained from a survey conducted during the spring of 2005. 216 inmates from four Norwegian prisons answered questions relating to the use of drugs, serious depression, anxiety and suicide, as well as problems relating to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The research shows, inter alia, that some time prior to their imprisonment, about 70% of the inmates were seriously depressed and 49% had considered suicide, whereas during imprisonment 47% reported one or more bouts of serious depression and 36% reported having considered suicide. 60% of the inmates acknowledged that the use of drugs had created problems for them with family and friends, and half reported that drugs had been the source of economic problems. Nearly half of the inmates felt that they could become violent when angry, though two-thirds indicated a willingness to take part in an anger management programme if one was offered to them. Finally, it should be noted that 29% of the inmates had great difficulties with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD).
Hanns von Hofer:
Is Violence Increasing or are the Definitions of Violence Expanding? An Empirical and Theoretical Analysis of Long-Term Trends in Violence
Using Sweden as an example, the essay analyzes the long-term development of individual violence since the middle of the 19th century. Individual violence reached its lowest level in the years between World I and World War II. Since the mid-1960s, individual violence has increased again, without reaching the high levels of the 1850s. The author argues that the renewed increase is both real and conceptual. It is real in the sense that factual violence has increased (as, by way of example, homicide data from vital statistics clearly show). The increase is, however, also conceptual as demonstrated by the application and enforcement of wider social and legal definitions of what is considered violence. The author speculates that the underlying reasons for this expanded conceptualization are connected to three basic characteristics of modernization: (1) fewer deviations from expected normality, (2) increased standardization of life processes, and (3) greater intolerance for hardship and pain. These traits have decreased people’s tolerance for what is considered an acceptable use of force and thereby widened the range of behaviours likely to be perceived as criminal violence.
December 2006 - 93. årgang Nr. 3
National Interpretations of the Principle of Universality
This article deals with the principle of universality and its different interpretations in the national legislations of the Nordic countries. No general rules regarding the exercise of criminal jurisdiction exist on the international level and in this situation states are allowed to define the scope of application of their criminal law as well as the criminal jurisdiction of their courts and other authorities. Therefore, the content and the scope of applications of the principle of universality have been defined differently in different state legislations. There have been substantial differences even between legislations of the Nordic countries. The relationship between the principle of universal jurisdiction and the principle of vicarious administration has been unclear, and even the basic structure of national rules of jurisdiction has been different in different countries. This situation has caused differences in determining when a state has the right or obligation to accept and exercise universal jurisdiction. The aim of this article is to point out different national understandings and interpretations concerning universal jurisdiction and to consider the effects of these differences in the context of combating international criminality.
Economic and Organised Crime: A Criminal Justice Drama in Seven Acts
Economic, or white-collar crime, and organised crime are discussed from a conflict perspective. The first conflict is between economic and organised crime, because they are often not stressed at the same time in criminal justice. There is also a conflict about what kinds of offences and criminal problems should be counted as economic crime. The businessman is often recognised as the offender, but couldn’t he also be the victim? An apparent conflict exists between our perception of the good guys - occupied with economic crime, and the bad guys - smuggling drugs and committing other organised criminality. Should different types of offences under the headings economic and organised crime be enforced by a single agency or by several? A classic conflict is between effectiveness and integrity; always an issue in the field of economic and organised crime. A final conflict is whether criminal justice responses to economic and organised crime are moving forward or backward.
Heidi Mork Lomell:
The Extent of Crime Policy in Public Space
Public space is a fundamental target of crime policy initiatives. In recent years, new crime policy initiatives have clearly changed public space, most notably in their effects on marginalised groups’ rights to the city. In addition, public space is changing, most notably in that more and more public space is privately owned and policed. This is narrowing the reach of official crime policy initiatives. Both the changing nature of crime policy and the changing nature of public space have the same effects on marginalised people. The right to the city should become a major concern both in crime policy discourse and municipal politic´s.
Stefan Holgersson, Rolf Granér & Peter Skoglund:
Complaints against the Police
In this article we argue that a narrowminded focus on lawful actions in efforts to eliminate bad behaviours on the part of police personnel have a negative effect on the attempt to reduce such problems. Since bad behaviour often fails to constitute outright illegality, it is difficult to tackle within the juridical forum. It seems to be easier and therefore more attractive to commanders to hand over such problems to departments of internal affairs to be processed externally, rather than to try to act to get rid of such matters within the organization via a more comprehensive approach designed to motivate police personnel to behave more appropriately. While definitely not the only reason for the current state of affairs, the present juridical system is an important factor.
Leif Petter Olaussen:
Reporting to Police: Seriousness of Acts and Social Distance
The purpose of this article is to explain people’s varying tendencies to report criminal victimization to the police, utilizing data from the 2004 Norwegian ICVS-survey. The analysis is guided by two theoretical points of view. The first is derived from scholars in penal philosophy, who typically contend that proportionality between punishment and crime is an important part of widely held conceptions of justice. If this is true, people’s tendencies to report crime to the police should be positively correlated with the seriousness of criminal acts. The analysis confirms that crime seriousness is of great importance for decisions to report. The other hypotheses examined in the article were proposed by the American legal sociologist Donald Black, whose book, The Behavior of Law, contended that the use of law, or governmental social control, increases with increasing relational distance between people. First, he asserted that people are less likely to sue someone they know well than a stranger. Second, Black suggested that the use of law or formal control increases with urbanization because relational distance increases with city size. Third, he contended that law varies directly with social and economic ressources: people with more social and economic ressources are more likely than people with less social and economic ressources to bring lawsuits against others. None of Black’s hypotheses are confirmed by the Norwegian data.