Norwegian media reports that Patria products from Finland have been spotted in use during Yemen’s brutal civil war.
Finland’s Chancellor of Justice says that the government’s decision to approve exports of armoured personnel carriers to the United Arab Emirates complied with the law.
Chancellor Tuomas Pöysti said that the office of the prime minister was open to criticism, however, given the UAE’s involvement in Yemen’s civil war.
Finland granted two permits for Patria to sell vehicles to the UAE, in 2015 and 2018. Pöysti said the second of these was more questionable because the UAE was clearly embroiled in the Yemeni conflict by then, but nevertheless the decision complied with Finnish law.
According to information received by Yle, Patria has sold personnel carriers to the UAE. Finland has been criticised for that decision, after claims that Patria products had been spotted in Yemen.
Pöysti also criticised the Defence Ministry’s report on the issue, which did not include how the UN Human Rights Council and other UN bodies have assessed the situation in Yemen.
According to the law on defence exports, permits are granted based on a case-by-case assessment, and in line with the UN’s Arms Trade Treaty and the EU’s standards on oversight of defence firms. Human rights, security and stability in the region should all be taken into consideration.
The Chancellor of Justice dealt with the issue after a complaint by the Peace Union of Finland and the pacifist Committee of Hundred in Finland.
The State of Finland owns just over half of Patria, with the rest held by the majority-state-owned Norwegian firm Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace. Patria has been embroiled in a series of corruption cases and other scandals, most recently related to the suspicious death of a consultant in Uganda.