The parliament’s Constitutional Law Committee announced on Wednesday that they have asked the prosecutor general to launch an investigation into Pekka Haavisto’s actions in the matter of repatriation of Finnish citizens from Al Hol detention camp in Syria.

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (the Green League) met with Dr. Abdulkarim Omar, who represents the autonomous administration of northeast Syria, at the House of the Estates in Helsinki on January 30, 2020. Haavisto and Omar discussed the circumstances in the al-Hol camp at the senior official level. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

The camp, managed by Kurdish forces, houses former ISIS members and sympathizers from various nations, mostly women and children. Presumably, Haavisto wanted his ministry to devise a plan to bring the Finnish citizens in the camp back to their home country.

Yet this is not the focus of the investigation. What the prosecutor will be looking at is the dispute between the minister and one of his officials, Pasi Tuominen, whose position as director general of consular services put him in charge of Al Hol affairs at the time.

Presumably due to Tuominen’s disagreement with the plans for repatriation, he was effectively sidelined by Haavisto, who stripped Tuominen of his authority over Al Hol matters and later tried to have him reassigned to a different position altogether. In the course of the investigation, the prosecutor hopes to find out why this was the case, rather than look at the legality of the ministry’s plans to repatriate citizens from al-Hol, although some MPs have also questioned the committee about this.

Haavisto already stood for a confidence vote in parliament last year, after a media scandal broke out surrounding the al-Hol situation. With 110 MPs voting in his favor, he passed the vote.

While the investigation is ongoing, the minister will continue in his position, having the full support of Prime Minister Sanna Marin (the SDP) and Green Party chair Maria Ohisalo. Once the investigation is complete, the Constitutional Law Committee will consult experts and draft a final report, and then MPs in parliament will decide whether or not to bring charges against the minister to the national court.