Sweden willing to imprison more war criminals

Sweden is willing to receive more war criminals from the former Yugoslavia, but would not consider detaining Saddam Hussein in its prisons, Justice Minister Thomas Bodström has said.

In an interview with Sydsvenska Dagbladet, Bodström said that discussions were underway about how Sweden could take in more of those convicted of war crimes at the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

One high-profile war criminal already serving a sentence in Sweden is Biljana Plavsic, the former Bosnian-Serb president. Plavsic was sentenced to eleven years imprisonment by the court, and chose to come to Sweden to serve her time.

The war crimes tribunal has indicted 120 people, of which 37 have so far been convicted.

Bodström said that Sweden had a duty to take in more prisoners.

“The system fails if countries such as Sweden, which has pressed hard to create an international court, don’t take in convicted war criminals.”

The former Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, has also reportedly expressed an interest in serving his sentence in Sweden. Saddam favoured Sweden because it was just and subject to the rule of law, reports Dagens Nyheter.

But Bodström said that Sweden “is not the right country” to take in such a person. He argued that a larger country that could better guarantee security would be preferable.

The decision of the Iraqi government to try the former president in Baghdad rather than allow him to be tried in the Hague now makes it unlikely that the Swedish government will need to make a formal decision on whether to accept him into a Swedish jail.


Attacker ‘severely disturbed’ during stabbing at Swedish political festival

Theodor Engström, the 33-year-old man who stabbed psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren to death at the Almedalen political festival in July, was seriously psychiatrically disturbed at the time of his attack, forensic psychiatrists have ruled.

Attacker 'severely disturbed' during stabbing at Swedish political festival

According to the Hela Gotland newspaper the Swedish National Board of Forensic Medicine has ruled that the man was so disturbed at the time of his attack he had lost the ability to understand the consequences of his actions, and has as a result recommended that he be given psychiatric treatment rather than a prison term.

The agency said that Engström had still been disturbed at the time he was given psychiatric assessment, and warned that there was a risk that Engström would commit further criminal acts. 

“This is a question which has relevance at a future stage,” said prosecutor Henrik Olin. “It means he cannot be sentenced to jail, but will instead receive psychiatric care. But it is not going to change how the investigation is carried out.” 

READ ALSO: What do we know about the Almedalen knife attack?

Engström stabbed Wieselgren, who worked as psychiatric coordinator for the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, as she was on the way to take part on a discussion at the Almedalen political festival. She died in hospital later that day. 

Engström has admitted to carrying out the attack, telling police that he intended to make a protest against the state of psychiatric healthcare in Sweden.