Estonia

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Overview

Estonia set up its DNA database in 2004. Estonian law provides that upon suspicion or conviction of any recordable offense a person’s DNA profile is to be entered into the national DNA database. The Estonian police are empowered to forcibly take DNA samples from persons suspected or convicted of any offense, including minors. Convicted persons’ and suspect’s profiles are kept for ten years after their death and crime scene stains are kept for seventy-five years after they are entered. Estonian law is silent on the question of the retention or destruction of DNA samples. In the absence of legal guidance, the samples are customarily retained. The 2008 Interpol survey reports that 8,000 crime scene DNA profiles and 23,500 individuals' profiles, plus 15 missing persons' DNA profiles and 35 unknown/deceased DNA profiles were held in Estonia at the time of the survey. According to Interpol, Estonia's DNA database grew to 9,732 crime scene DNA profiles, 29,426 reference DNA profiles from individuals, plus 54 missing persons' DNA profiles in 2011. A DNA database legislation had been adopted at that time.


Resources

  • Press articles *

Detailed Analysis

I. Law on Point

Government of the Republic Act, Databases Act, Police Act, Personal Data Protection Act, Code of Criminal Procedure and Decree of National Police Commissioner.[1]

II. Entry Criteria

Persons convicted of or arrested for any recordable offence and all crime scene stains[2]

Estonian law provides that upon suspicion or conviction of any recordable offense a person’s DNA profile is to be entered into the national DNA database. No restrictions apply to DNA profiles derived from unidentified crime scene stains, and thus all are typically entered onto the database.

III. Sample Collection

As noted above, Estonian law places no limits on law enforcements’ authority to collect unidentified crime scene stains. Moreover, the Estonian police are empowered to forceably take DNA samples from persons suspected or convicted of any offense, including minors. The law in silent on taking DNA samples from the mentally ill.

IV. Removal Criteria

Convicted persons’ and suspect’s profiles are kept for ten years after their death and crime scene stains are kept for seventy-five years after they are entered[3]

The DNA profiles of suspects and convicted offenders must be removed from the DNA database ten years after their deaths. The DNA profiles that are derived from unidentified crime scene stains have to be removed seventy-five years after they are entered onto the database.

V. Sample Retention

All samples are retained indefinitely[4]

Estonian law is silent on the question of the retention or destruction of DNA samples. In the absence of legal guidance, the samples are customarily retained.[5]

VI. Database Access

The authorized processor of the DNA database is Forensic Service Centre. Scientists and laboratory personnel have access to all data on the DNA samples, DNA profiles and the matches which are established. The DNA profile information can be exchanged with other EU Member States through Interpol.

CODIS software is used for DNA database + MYSQL software for background database (sample data).

References

  1. E.U. 9445/1/06 at 6.
  2. See EU Current Practices at 44-45.
  3. See EU Current Practices at 45.
  4. See EU Current Practices at 45.
  5. Id.