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The year 2002 was the 82nd in the history of the Finnish Parliamentary Ombudsman.

The main function of the Ombudsman, Ms. Riitta‑Leena PAUNIO, and the two Deputies, Mr. Ilkka RAUTIO and Mr. Petri JÄÄSKELÄINEN, is to ensure that the courts of law, the other authorities and civil servants as well as  public employees and other persons performing a public task obey the law and fulfil their obligations. They also monitor the implementation of basic and human rights.


During the year 2002 a total of 2,957 new cases were referred by the public to the Ombudsman for oversight of legality. Of these cases, 2,588 were complaints and 291 other written communications.  In 35 cases the Ombudsman started an investigation on own initiative. In addition, 1,756 cases were pending from previous years. Growth in the number of complaints has been continuing since the beginning of the 1990s.

Various authorities also ask the Ombudsman for submissions, and the Ombudsman is consulted as an expert at, for example, hearings arranged by various committees of the Parliament. In 2002, there were 43 such requests for submissions or to attend hearings. The total number of cases handled in 2002 was thus 4,713.


A total of  2,984 cases were resolved in 2002. They included 2,610 cases of complaints.  Replies to other written communications were issued in 297 other cases.

During the year 2002, as also in earlier years, most of the cases resolved related to oversight of matters belonging to the sector of social welfare and social insurance. The next biggest category concerned the police, courts and the administration of justice as well as health care.


In addition to dealing with complaints and examining matters on his or her own initiative, the Ombudsman conducts inspections in prisons and at closed institutions in order to monitor the treatment of persons detained in those places. The treatment of conscripts is likewise monitored and inspections at units of the Defence Forces are obligatory under the regulations. In conjunction of the inspections, the inmates and the conscripts are given the possibility to have a confidential discussion with the Ombudsman. Inspections often lead to shortcoming being observed, and they are taken up for examination either on the basis of complaints or on the Ombudsman's own initiative. In 2002, inspections were conducted at 72 facilities.

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