Forensic Expertise

Mrs. Helena Ranta

Helena Ranta in Kosovo

“We have to protect the weak”
“I think it is very important that we always remember, that when the killing stops the genocide is not over. And we must not forget the survivors. They have lost nearly everything, except their lives. They are our teachers. We have to help them, support them, and listen to their faint voices.”

The words come from Dr. Helena Ranta, an internationally renowned Finnish forensic dentist. She has been contributing to several forensic investigations of conflicts in Kosovo, Bosnia, Nepal, and Peru, just to name a few. Dr. Ranta is a tireless campaigner against the culture of impunity after all the horrible crimes against humanity she has witnessed.

- I have been conducting exhumations in several countries and there are things that are very difficult to describe. I think choosing not to talk about them is a way of protecting myself, Dr. Ranta ponders.

- Since I started in the mid-90s in the Balkans, the establishment of the International Criminal Court was a great step forward to end the culture of impunity.

- It is very important that forensic evidence of alleged human rights violations are collected and analyzed against internationally recognized standards, and that reports are produced for eventual legal proceedings, Dr. Ranta reminds us.

- Global responsibility is a key issue, and I think everyone, governments, states, individual people, national organizations, non-governmental organizations, all are needed in the attempt to end the culture of impunity. And now that we have legal instrument in place we should work more efficiently because the victims have waited for so long.

- I think that we should take the responsibility, which means we have to protect the weak and those who are threatened. For me silence is a form of communication, inaction a form of complicity, Dr. Ranta stresses her stance.

Resolution 1325 – Women, Peace and Security
Dr. Ranta has been active in the UN Women organization while her home country, Finland, actively promotes the implementation of the recommendations of UN Security Council resolution 1325 – ”Women, Peace and Security”.

- If this resolution 1325 would be fully implemented at the grassroots level, the world would be very different, but we have a lot of work to do. Women are not to be seen only victims in armed conflicts or wars. They are active participants and they take care of children and elderly people and provide food and so on. But when the war or the conflict is over, do we see them in negotiating tables? Very rarely, and yet everybody is needed in the reconstruction of broken societies, not only when it comes to concrete reconstruction but also the mental healing.

- Finland has adopted a national action plan to implement the resolution and since then Finland has been assisting a number of countries, like Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi to prepare their national action plans.

Finnish School Model Provides Equal Access
- If I were a dictator I would take the Finnish school model to other countries, because in Finland we have equal access. It is vital for developing countries that both girls and boys have equal access to primary and secondary education. Unfortunately there are countries where girls cannot go to school. Finland and other Nordic countries could especially assist in this regard, Dr. Ranta points out.