What are we to make of a classified internal investigation into the behavior of the Helsinki Court of Appeals, which revealed some judges sexually harassed women at parties, used racist and sexist language during recesses and in meetings outside of the courtroom? If this occurs in our judicial system, how common is it among the police, army, civil servants and teachers?
Minister of Justice Anna-Maja Henriksson spoke out against the conduct of the Helsinki Court of Appeals judges as an ”extremely serious matter.”
“Everyone understands that victims are in a very vulnerable position,” she was quoted as saying on YLE in English. “This type of behavior is unacceptable and does not create confidence in the judicial system. This kind of language will not be tolerated, even behind closed doors.”
Read full story (in Finnish) here.
The internal report, which was obtained by MTV 3, shows that Helsinki Court of Appeal judges used derogatory labels for blacks (n-word), Russians, Jews and gays as well as sexually harassed women at parties.
Even if the internal classified report on the unacceptable behavior of some judges is a step in the right directions, there’s been a lot of denial by other institutions in Finland when dealing with a serious problem like intolerance.
If you disagree, ask Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen, who flatly denies that the police ethnically profiles anyone.
Such an absolute denial by her is the best evidence we have yet that it does occur in Finland. It reveals as well that the authorities are doing little to nothing to tackle social ills like intolerance.
The Council of Europe expressed concern last month in a report over ethnic profiling by the Finnish police.
Apart from denial, our society goes to great lengths to avoid the issue of intolerance altogether.
Why does the Finnish media ask immigrants on a program if ethnic profiling happens in Finland? Why doesn’t it ask the Roma, who have lived in Finland for five centuries? Certainly they should know how they are treated by the police.
It will be interesting to see how the authorities deal with the racist and sexist behavior of some judges of the Helsinki Court of Appeal and how many heads will roll as a result, if any.