HELSINKI – Finland failed to protect citizens of school shooting

Finland failed to protect its citizens from becoming victims of a school shooting back in 2008, the European Court of Human Rights held on Thursday (17 September). The authorities at the time had not taken the possible threat sufficiently seriously and failed to confiscate the shooter’s firearm, thus violating their duty of care.

In September 2008, a 22-year-old man entered the College of Hospitality in Kauhajoki and opened fire, killing ten people before committing suicide.

The shooter, a student at the college, had posted disturbing videos on YouTube before the massacre and had been questioned by police. No further measures were taken after the interrogation, and the policeman in charge was later given a warning for negligence and misconduct.

The case was taken to the European Court of Human Rights in 2012 by the victims’ families.

In a 6-1 ruling, the Strasbourg Court decided on Thursday that Finnish authorities were negligent in ensuring the right to life of its citizens, which is enshrined in Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Finland will now have to pay €30,000 to the families of each victim. Each family will also receive €7,000 to cover legal costs.

(Pekka Vänttinen |

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