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Independent investigation team to assess measures taken due to COVID-19 pandemic

Ministry of Justice 3.9.2020 13.37 | Published in English on 4.9.2020 at 16.06
Press release

The Government appointed on 3 September 2020 an independent investigation team in connection with the Safety Investigation Authority to look into the measures taken in Finland as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The investigation now launched is an investigation of an exceptional event as defined in the Security Investigation Act. Such an investigation may, under the Act, concern a very serious event which has resulted in death or threatened or seriously damaged the basic functions of society, but which is not an accident.

The Government decided on the initiation of an investigation of an exceptional event on the presentation of the Minister of Justice.

- We had a very exceptional spring with the COVID-19 epidemic affecting the entire Finnish society and each of us. Nonetheless, Finland has done well. Now that the situation is calming down, it is time to take a look at the decisions that were made. It feels right to appoint this investigation team, which will provide us with an independent expert assessment of the measures taken during this exceptional crisis and their consequences, says Minister of Justice Anna-Maja Henriksson.

The purpose of the investigation is to improve public safety and security. The investigation team is expected to issue recommendations on how, based on the experiences from the pandemic, the preparedness of society for this kind of very serious events could be improved and their consequences mitigated.

The investigation team will focus on examining the following issues during the period from 1 January to 31 July 2020:

  • recognition among public administration and other operators of the need to address the situation, measures taken, and flow of information
  • legislation applied in the situation
  • preparedness for the crisis, contingency plans and other documents
  • communications affecting people's safety and security
  • consequences of the measures taken

Safety investigations are not carried out to allocate legal responsibility, so the investigation will not address questions of guilt, liability or damages. The examination of medical care does not fall within the scope of the investigation either.

The investigation team is led by Chief Safety Investigator Kai Valonen from the Safety Investigation Authority.

The team will carry out its work independently and impartially.

The investigation team will prepare a public investigation report, which will be submitted to the Government. The task of the team is to investigate the course of events and relevant background factors, and to issue safety recommendations for authorities and other operators to help them improve their preparedness and public safety and security.

The investigation is scheduled to be completed in June 2021.

Inquiries:
Niklas Mannfolk, Special Adviser to the Minister of Justice, tel. +358 50 306 3990, niklas.mannfolk(at)om.fi
Veli-Pekka Nurmi, Professor, Executive Director of the Safety Investigation Authority, tel. +358 2951 50701, veli-pekka.nurmi(at)om.fi
Kai Valonen, Chief Safety Investigator of the Safety Investigation Authority, tel. +358 2951 50707, kai.valonen(at)om.fi
Pekka Timonen, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, tel. +358 295 150 044, pekka.v.timonen(at)om.fi

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