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Finland has detailed legislation on terrorism in a chapter of the Criminal Code, first elaborated in 2003. Finland believes that any measures against terrorism, whether international or national, must be compatible with human rights law, international humanitarian law, and refugee law in order to be effective and legitimate.

Compliance with International Law:
Last updated: one year ago

The Definition of Terrorism in Domestic Law

Finland's criminal code proscribes acts committed with a terrorist intent where the act is "conducive to causing serious damage to a country or an international organisation".S. 1, Chap. 34(a), Criminal Code of Finland.Terrorist intent is defined in the Code as follows:

A perpetrator has a terrorist intent if it is his or her intent to:

1) seriously intimidate a population,

2) unlawfully compel the government or another public authority of a State or an international organisation to perform, endure or abstain from performing an act,

3) unlawfully abrogate or alter the constitution of a State or seriously destabilise the legal order of a State or cause particularly extensive damage to the central government finances or fundamental social structures of a State, or

4) cause particularly extensive damage to the finances or other fundamental structures of an international organisation.S. 6, Chap. 34(a), Criminal Code of Finland.


A terrorist group is defined as "a structured group of at least three persons established over a period of time and acting in concert to commit [terrorist] offences".S. 6, Chap. 34(a), Criminal Code of Finland.

Adherence to Global and Regional Terrorism Treaties

Finland is a State Party to all of the main United Nations treaties on terrorism.

Adherence to Global Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1973 Convention on Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons State Party
1979 Hostage-Taking Convention State Party
1997 Terrorist Bombings Convention State Party
1999 Terrorist Financing Convention State Party
2005 Nuclear Terrorism Convention State Party

In adhering to the Terrorist Bombings Convention, Finland stated that the earlier interpretative declaration by Pakistan amounted to a reservation that was "in contradiction with the object and purpose of the Convention, namely the suppression of terrorist bombings wherever and by whomever carried out".

In adhering to the 1999 Terrorist Financing Convention, Finland made a similar statement with respect to the declarations made by Egypt, Jordan, Namibia, Syria, and Yemen.


Finland is also a State Party to most of the European treaties on terrorism.

Adherence to Regional Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1977 European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism State Party
2003 Protocol amending the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism State Party
2005 Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism State Party
2015 Additional Protocol to the Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism Signatory

The 2003 Protocol has not yet entered into force. 

Laws and Penalties for Terrorist Offences

Terrorist offences ordinarily carry a sentence of imprisonment for at least four months and which range up to, at most, twelve years.S. 1, Chap. 34(a), Criminal Code of Finland.Where a killing is committed, the sentence is to imprisonment for at least four and at most twelve years.S. 1(7), Chap. 34(a), Criminal Code of Finland.

A person who commits murder with a terrorist intent shall be sentenced to life imprisonment.S. 1(8), Chap. 34(a), Criminal Code of Finland.An attempted terrorist act is also punishable.

Failure to report a serious terrorist offence carries a maximum sentence of six months in prison.S. 10, Chap. 15, Criminal Code of Finland.

Counterterrorism Capacities and Policies at Domestic Level

Finland has adopted a series of National Action Plans Preventing Violent Radicalization and Extremism, most recently in 2019. A 2019 Act granted the Finnish Security Intelligence Service additional powers to combat terrorism.

Operational counter-terrorism skills and response capacity have been enhanced in recent years, including by creating special task forces within police units to deal with terrorist situations. The police also have a national SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team.


Criminal Code of Finland (official English translation)