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Finland seeks international court to try Isis fighters

The interior minister says Finnish Isis members or their families will get no help in returning to Finland.

Sisäministeri Kai Mykkänen (kok.)
Kai Mykkänen of the conservative National Coalition Party has been interior minister for just over a year. Image: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva

The Finnish government is calling for the establishment of an international court in the Middle East to try those who have fought with the terror group Isis. All the Nordic countries back such a move.

"It's clear that creating such an international court is a long process. But we have examples such as the Yugoslavia court, which has been able to convict perpetrators," Interior Minister Kai Mykkänen said at an EU ministerial meeting in Brussels on Thursday.

Mykkänen says the court should operate like the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Hague, but admits it would take years to develop.

Hundreds of ex-Isis combatants and their family members are now in camps in Syria. Mykkänen says they need to be monitored.

"What's essential is that we limit the risk that they will start moving around Europe freely and causing new problems," he said.

No help for Isis families

On Wednesday CNN and other news outlets reported on a woman in a camp in eastern Syria who said she was a Finn named Sanna. She said she had gone into Isis territory with her husband and that she has several children and wanted to return to Finland.

Mykkänen says he has no sympathy for her situation.

"In the case of Sanna, it is unfortunately so that she made a great mistake in going there to join the ranks of a terrorist organisation," he said.

Regarding Sanna's children, Mykkänen described the situation as tragic since they did not choose this path for themselves.

"We don't have any sympathy for those adults who have gone there. They should be sentenced for their crimes, for taking part in and supporting a terror organisation," the minister said.

He adds that the state of Finland does not intend to help Sanna or her children return to Finland.

"We have no intention of arranging any return trips for those who have taken part in fighting for Isis," Mykkänen asserted.

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