Finland: Total objector Jesse Kamila sentenced to 180 days of home detention
(15.02.2013) Jesse Kamila, a 24 year-old conscientious objector from Joensuu, Finland was sentenced to 180 days of home detention on Tuesday 12 February by Itä-Uudenmaan käräjäoikeus (Eastren Uusimaa district court). He had refused to do military service on 21 May 2012. He was charged with "refusal from civilian service" (siviilipalveluksesta kieltäytyminen).
House arrest has been possible for total objectors in Finland since November 2011. The prisoner must wear an electronic ankle bracelet and is allowed to work or study outside home during the sentence, but otherwise must stay at home. Since its introduction home detention has been used frequently for total objectors, however some have been imprisoned.
Jesse Kamila has refused to do civilian service because he sees it as a punishment for refusing violence. Civilian service lasts 347 days, whereas the shortest military service is only 165 days.
The UN Commission on Human Rights declared that any alternative service required of conscientious objectors in lieu of compulsory military service must be compatible with the reasons for the objection, of a civilian character, in the public interest and not of a punitive nature e.g. in its duration (Resolution 1998/77, OP4.). The length of the substitute service in Finland, however, is punitive.
Furthermore, in Foin v France (1999) the Human Rights Committee established its position that any difference in length must be “based on reasonable and objective criteria, such as the nature of the specific service concerned, or the need for a special training in order to accomplish that service” (Foin v France, Communication No. 666/1995) CCPR/C/D/666/1995, 9 November 1999, para. 10.3).
International pressure is important at this stage, since Jesse's sentence has not yet started. War Resisters' International calls for letters of protest to Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Tapani Katainen, or to Finnish embassies abroad. A protest email can be sent at http://wri-irg.org/node/21245.
War Resisters’ International: Finland - Total objector Jesse Kamila sentenced to 180 days of home detention. February 15, 2013.