U.S. military in Finland to remain under U.S. jurisdiction: ambassador-Xinhua

U.S. military in Finland to remain under U.S. jurisdiction: ambassador

Source: Xinhua| 2023-11-02 06:31:45|Editor: huaxia

HELSINKI, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. military arriving in Finland, under the auspices of the upcoming bilateral Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA), will remain under U.S. legal jurisdiction, U.S. Ambassador to Finland Douglas Hickey said on Wednesday.

Speaking to Finnish national broadcaster Yle, Hickey explained that if a U.S. service member is accused of committing a crime in Finland, the case would be adjudicated in a U.S. court.

The relationship of the U.S. military personnel and the Finnish criminal law has been a topic of discussion among the Finnish public, while Hickey said he is confident of the U.S. personnel's behavior.

However, according to a report released in 2022 -- "Facing U.S. Extraterritorial Pressure: American Troops in Foreign Courts during the Cold War," the involvement of U.S. troops overseas in crime was far greater than previously known, and in countries dependent on U.S.-provided security, U.S. troops were less likely to face trial.

A South Korean media outlet reported in 2017 that the non-prosecution rate for crimes committed by U.S. military personnel stationed in South Korea stands at a whopping 70.7 percent and the figure for violent crimes, including murder, rape and robbery, is even higher at 81.3 percent.

Hickey said that the DCA -- on which Finland and the United States wrapped up final talks on Tuesday -- is a natural follow-up for the Finnish membership in NATO, and will further specify their cooperation under the NATO framework.

He mentioned that the details of the agreement will be made public following the Finnish political process, though he acknowledged uncertainty regarding the timeline.

Moreover, military training exercises with U.S. participation would only be arranged at Finland's initiative, he said, adding that the United States is fostering a stronger defense mechanism in the Nordic area through cooperation agreements.

Though details about the DCA were currently limited, Finnish media reported that there would be no actual U.S. bases in the Nordic country but the U.S. forces could be present in the country in some form.

According to a 2021 study conducted by the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, the United States currently has 750 military bases in 80 countries and regions overseas, which is almost three times the number of U.S. embassies, consulates and missions.