3. Rape and Sexual Violence between Criminal Law, Human Rights and Social Movements: Lessons from the Finnish Legal Review Process

This paper investigates how supranational human rights standards regarding sexual violence and consent affect criminal law, an area of national law often considered difficult to harmonise. In Finland, the chapter of the Criminal Code that regulates sexual crimes is currently reviewed and amended to live up to standards laid down in the Istanbul Convention and ECtHR practice. Reconciling national criminal law with supranational human rights law however offers many challenges in terms of perspectives, theoretical conceptualisations and subjectivities. Through investigating the Finnish legal review process, the prevailing criminal legal debates and the socio-legal mobilisation in Finland to introduce a consent-based definition of rape, the paper demonstrates central tensions between human rights and criminal law, social and legal change and supranational and national legal norms that are brought to the fore.