Office of the Prosecutor General

As the central administrative unit, the Office of the Prosecutor General is responsible for the operational prerequisites of the entire National Prosecution Authority and acts as the headquarters of the Prosecutor General.

The duties of the Office of the Prosecutor General are

  • appoint the Chief District Prosecutors, Special Prosecutors and District Prosecutors
  • steer and develop the National Prosecution Authority and prosecution activities
  • ensure the effectiveness of the activities of the National Prosecution Authority
  • supervise the legality and consistency of the activities of the prosecutors
  • take care of the National Prosecution Authority's general administration, communications and training
  • engage in the national and international co-operation within its purview
  • ensure the organisation of the activities of prosecutors acting as heads of investigation in crimes in which a police officer is a suspect.

The duties of the Office of the Prosecutor General are laid down in the Act on the National Prosecution Authority and the Government Decree on the National Prosecution Authority.

The Office of the Prosecutor General is headed by Prosecutor General Raija Toiviainen. Deputy Prosecutor General Jukka Rappe acts as her deputy. Additionally, the office employs State Prosecutors, office staff and experts in administrative, communications, training, development and international duties. A total of around 50 public servants work at the Office of the Prosecutor General.

Criminal matters concerning freedom of expression

Pursuant to the Act on the Exercise of Freedom of Expression in Mass Media, the Prosecutor General shall decide on the bringing of charges for all offences arising from the contents of a published message, where this is subject to public prosecution. Such typical offences against freedom of expression include ethnic agitation, breach of religious peace, public inciting to crime and the related editorial offences.

Terrorist crime

In accordance with the Criminal Code, the Prosecutor General decides on the bringing of charges in the case of terrorist crime. A terrorist crime always requires a terroristic intent, for example when the perpetrator's intention is to cause serious terror amongst the population or to unlawfully force the government or some other authority of a state to do, tolerate or not do something.

If the Prosecutor General orders charges to be brought for a terrorist crime, he or she also appoints a prosecutor who must pursue the charges in the courts.

In 2014–2019, the Prosecutor General has brought charges for terrorist crimes three times. 

Criminal matters involving the police

Reports of crimes involving the police are initially processed at the Office of the Prosecutor General. The Police Misconduct Unit is responsible for the processing.

Read more on the Criminal matters involving the police page

Reassessment and other complaints

On her own initiative or, for instance, based on a complaint, the Prosecutor General may reopen a case decided by a subordinate prosecutor. These so-called reassessment cases are about the complainant being dissatisfied with the end result of the prosecutor's 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.

Appeal to the Supreme Court

Decisions by the Court of Appeal can be appealed to the Supreme Court if the Supreme Court grants leave for an appeal. Prosecutors most commonly appeal decisions by the Court of Appeal in matters of precedential nature (on average 40 cases per year). A matter is of precedential nature if the law or case-law do not give a direct answer to how it should be decided. By applying for leave to appeal, prosecutors take part in developing case-law.

The State Prosecutors prepare the applications for leave to appeal and appeals proposed to be submitted to the Supreme Court together with the prosecutor for the case. After the preparation, the State Prosecutor presents the application for leave to appeal and the appeal to the Prosecutor General, who decides whether they are submitted to the Supreme Court.

The Prosecutor General also represents the prosecutors in the Supreme Court in other matters.