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Chancellor of Justice won’t investigate Haavisto over al-Hol

Finland’s Foreign Minister has faced complaints over his actions to repatriate children from Syria.

Pekka Haavisto
Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva

Pekka Haavisto will not be investigated by the Chancellor of Justice over his efforts to repatriate Finns from the al-Hol camp in Syria, which holds people who were present in territories controlled by Isis when the caliphate fell.

The Chancellor’s office had received twenty complaints over the Foreign Minister’s actions, but will not investigate because a parliamentary committee is already looking into the same issues.

Many of the complaints are over Haavisto’s actions in allegedly sidelining a senior official in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to allow another to handle al-Hol related actions.

Parliament’s Constitutional Law Committee had already started an investigation on 20 December, however, when ten MPs asked the committee to investigate.

Management style

The Chancellor, Tuomas Pöysti, had been interviewed by the committee that day when they divided up responsibility for the inquiry.

Pöysti told STT on Thursday that the committee’s efforts to investigate the minister would be extensive enough, but if something arose relating to Haavisto that the committee wasn’t looking at then he could step in.

He did say that the ministry’s management style would be under investigation by his office, however. He did not go into details, but said that management and workplace atmosphere were key issues he would be looking at.

National Police Commissioner Seppo Kolehmainen is also under investigation by the chancellor. Complaints have suggested that Kolehmainen may have given erroneous information to parliament’s Administration Committee.

Leaked documents

Pöysti said those complaints were broad and non-specific.

Kolehmainen has said publicly that the police had no plans to help repatriate anyone from al-Hol, but documents subsequently leaked to the press suggested he had knowledge of government plans in the matter.

The Constitutional Law Committee will meet to handle the Haavisto issue on 14 January, when Haavisto himself, Ministry for Foreign Affairs official Pasi Tuominen and State Prosecutor Raija Toiviainen will be grilled.

Haavisto is claimed to have sidelined Tuominen due to their differences of opinion in how to handle the children and women at al-Hol.

Parliament’s Foreign Affairs committee had already met on 3 December and voted to exonerate Haavisto over the affair.

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