Press releases

Press release: Ombudsman requests reports in CIA rendition flights case

Parliamentary Ombudsman Petri Jääskeläinen has requested reports on Finland's possible involvement or the use of Finnish territory in the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA's) programme of rendition flights in the so-called war on terror.

The Ombudsman has taken the matter under investigation on his own initiative. In his requests for a report and statement the Ombudsman is asking for, inter alia, information on specified flights. He has asked various authorities to provide him, as comprehensively and precisely as possible, with all of the information in their possession that may have a bearing on the matter. He has asked them to provide the reports by 28.2.2013.

The request has been sent at the same time to 15 instances:

- Ministry for Foreign Affairs
- Ministry of the Interior
- Finnish Security Intelligence Service
- National Bureau of Investigation
- Border Guard
- National Board of Customs
- Ministry of Defence
- Defence Command
- Mission of Finland to NATO
- Ministry of Transport and Communications
- Finnish Transport Safety Agency
- Finavia Corporation / Area Control Centre Finland
- Office of the President of the Republic
- Prime Minister's Office
- Office of the Prosecutor General

Ministry for Foreign Affairs found no proof

In autumn 2011 and early 2012 and at the request of Amnesty International, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs investigated suspicions that detainees had been transported via Finland in the period 2001?06 in contravention of international law.

The Ministry?s investigations did not uncover any proof that Finnish airspace or airports had been used for unlawful transport of detainees. The Ministry reported that it had no further means of ascertaining more about the matter.

The Ministry forwarded the material that it had accumulated in its investigations to the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman?s right to receive information and his powers in investigating the matter are broader than those of the Ministry.

Extensive international interest in the matter

On 11.9.2012 the European Parliament called on, among other countries, Finland to supply it with all necessary information on all aircrafts that are suspected of being associated with the CIA programme. The Parliament has taken the view that in the matter of extraordinary rendition flights no EU Member State has so far wholly fulfilled its obligations to protect, preserve and respect international human rights and prevent violations thereof.

Cases involving various countries are pending before the European Court of Human Rights. Investigations into allegations of secret detention centres and rendition flights have been and are still being conducted in several states and by international organisations.

Bodies including the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and the United Nations have published many extensive reports concerning the matter. According to these, the CIA's rendition programme air has been active in Finland's immediate vicinity in such countries as Poland and Lithuania. Persons have also been expelled from Sweden and transferred to the custody of the CIA in a way that violates human rights.
Additional info will be provided by Principal Legal Officer Pasi Pölönen, tel. +358 (0)9 4321.