SDÁ 1-2006: Steinar Pedersen

Sámi historjjálaš riektevuogádagat – muhtun fuopmášumit

Steinar Pedersen (Sámi Ealáhus- ja Guorahallanguovddáš)

Viečča artihkkala dás (pdf).

Sami historical legal systems

The East- or Skoltsami societies had an ancient internal Sami court system, which existed until the beginning of the twentieth century. Although there is little empirical evidence, it is likely to assume that such Sami legal systems have existed in other Sami areas, as well.

The final border between Norway and Sweden (Finland), affecting large Sami areas, was drawn in 1751. To safeguard the future of the «Saami Nation», the involved states made an addition to the border-treaty itself, by which the rights of the Samis were confirmed – the Lapp Codicil. There an internal Sami legal system, including its own Sami court was reaffirmed or established. In certain areas the court was a court of first instance. It had the competence to judge and execute the judgements, if not appealed, even across the border. The principle was that Samis should judge Samis – a principle which was also applied in the official courts of first instance. When a Sami from Sweden was charged in Norway, for example, two of his fellow Samis should take seats in the court in Norway, and vice versa.

This article also indicates that until 1809 the measures in the Lapp Codicil concerning. Sami legal rights on the Norwegian-Finnish border and, between 1751 and 1852, on the northernmost part of the Norwegian-Swedish border were respected by the authorities on both sides.