Matters considered by the Office of the Prosecutor General
In addition to its other responsibilities, the Office of the Prosecutor General considers criminal cases where normal consideration of charges is made and prosecution is brought where necessary in courts throughout Finland. Criminal cases considered by the Office of the Prosecutor General are of major importance for society. A state prosecutor is the prosecutor also in cases which are considered in a court of appeal as the court of first instance. Such cases include charges against certain high-ranking public officials for offences in office. The Office has 13 state prosecutors serving in the prosecution tasks referred to above.
Under the Act on the Exercise of Freedom of Expression in Mass Media (460/2003 as amended), the Prosecutor General decides on the bringing of charges for all offences arising from the contents of a published message where this is subject to public prosecution. In practice, the Deputy Prosecutor General decides freedom of expression cases.
Typical offences against freedom of expression where the Prosecutor General has exclusive right to bring charges are incitement to ethnic or racial hatred, breach of the sanctity of religion, public incitement to an offence and editorial misconduct relating to these.
Under Section 11, subsection 2 of the Criminal Procedure Act (689/1997 as amended) and Section 10 of the Act on Public Prosecutors (199/1997 as amended), the Prosecutor General may, as a result of a complaint, take up for re-assessment, on his own initiative, a charge decided by a subordinate prosecutor. In these so-called re-assessment matters, the complainant is usually dissatisfied with the outcome of the consideration of charges. A complaint may also be made with regard to other prosecutorial procedures. This may be a question of the assessing the legality or good prosecutorial practice of a procedure.