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Haavisto "relief" as committee finds no basis for prosecution

The Constitutional Law Committee said the foreign minister broke the law, but he should not be prosecuted.

Pekka Haavisto
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto. Image: Marja Väänänen / Yle
Yle News

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) said he felt a "sense of relief" after the Constitutional Law Committee found there was no basis for prosecution over his handling of the repatriation of Finnish citizens from the al-Hol camp in northern Syria.

The committee did however find that Haavisto had acted in contravention of the Administration Law and the Foreign Relations Act.

After the committee's press conference, Haavisto spoke to reporters via video conference as he is self-isolating after returning from a trip to Brussels. He welcomed the committee’s findings after a "long process" which began last December when opposition parties filed a motion of no-confidence in relation to the al-Hol camp.

"A year long judicial enquiry toward a minister is a heavy process. I want to present my personal thanks to all those who during the past year have shown their support and encouragement," Haavisto said.

He added that his ministry has continued to work towards helping Finnish children detained at al-Hol, and said that 15 children have already been repatriated.

"I would like to say to future foreign ministers that it is better to justify giving aid than to not help," Haavisto said.

Interior Minister and Green Party chair Maria Ohisalo welcomed the committee's verdict in a tweet sent shortly after Haavisto's statement.

"Helping Finnish children is our legal duty. Haavisto has my full confidence," Ohisalo wrote.

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