Wednesday 9/22/21
PARLIAMENT

Foreign Minister Haavisto reprimanded by Constitutional Law Committee

The investigation concluded that Haavisto's actions are reprehensible, but not sufficient to initiate prosecution.
Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto. Photo: Twitter/@Haavisto/file photo.
Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto. Photo: Twitter/@Haavisto/file photo.

The Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Pekka Haavisto (Green League), has been reprimanded by the Parliament's Constitutional Law Committee, which had decided to launch an investigation into his actions in relation to the way he handled events surrounding the repatriation of Finnish women and children from Al-Hol camp (Syria).

The committee, which in a rare decision decided earlier this year to investigate the actions of a minister in office, had requested the General Prosecutor to investigate an internal dispute between Haavisto and one of his subordinates at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

The committee said Haavisto acted in contravention of the Administration Law and the Foreign Relations Act. The committee's conclusion is that Haavisto's actions are reprehensible, but they are not sufficient to initiate a prosecution process against him.

The origin of the request lies in an internal dispute which confronted minister Haavisto with senior official Pasi Tuominen, Director General of Consular services, who refused to act according to the minister's instructions. Haavisto was later accused of trying to get rid of Tuominen, who was in charge of Al-Hol affairs, by transferring him to another position in order to push his own repatriation plan.

Pressure

Haavisto would have acted in this way, feeling that Tuominen was reluctant to promote the repatriation operation of the Finnish nationals interned in the refugee camp. Tuominen, for his part, says he was pressured to act according to the minister's wishes, without an explicit order from the government.

The decision of the Constitutional Law Committee was not unanimous. Two members, Bella Forsgrén and Mari Holopainen, both members of the Green League to which Haavisto also belongs, expressed their disagreement. 

The case of the possible prosecution of Haavisto - who until a year ago was the highest valued candidate for the upcoming presidential elections - was also affected by another controversy. MTV News published the content of an email sent by a Green League MP, Outi Alanko-Kahiluoto, in which she tried to persuade the other members of the Committee to reduce criticism of Minister Haavisto.

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