Parliament Committee wants more information in Pekka Haavisto case

The whole case revolves around complaints about Foreign Minister Haavisto's actions in the case of Isis-linked Finns at a Syria refugee camp.

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) talks to reporters outside Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, 29th August 2019 / Credit: TPK

Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee hasn’t been able to find any clear resolution on whether Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) acted legally or properly in the case of Isis-linked Finns at the al-Hol refugee camp.

The Committee met during the day on Tuesday and heard from both Haavisto and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Consular Chief Pasi Tuominen, who has alleged that Haavisto unduly pressured him to make decisions on what to do with the Finnish nationals, including children, at the Syria camp.

Both Haavisto and Tuominen had submitted documents to the Committee in advance of the hearing, and both met with MPs on the Committee for several hours.

Afterwards, Committee Chair Johanna Ojala-Niemelä (SDP) said there had been contradictions in the stories of the two men, and more information was needed from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs including documents and emails.

What’s the background to this case? 

Pekka Haavisto – experienced politician, United Nations diplomat and two-time presidential candidate – has been the subject of weeks of intense media speculation and political pressure about his role in planning what to do with approximately three dozen Finnish women and their children at al-Hol.

A tabloid newspaper accused Haavisto of ‘going rogue’ with a plan to bring back just the children, and pressure a civil servant – Tuominen – to sign his name to the scheme. The paper alleged Haavisto kept all this secret from President Niinistö, the Chancellor of Justice and the Foreign Affairs Committee in parliament.

However, in early December Haavisto gave an account of his actions to the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs which voted 10-3 to accept his explanation.

Later that same month opposition politicians brought a vote of no confidence in Haavisto to a vote in parliament, which again he won comfortably.

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