Danish citizens who fight alongside the terrorist group Isis should be charged with treason, Justice Minister Mette Frederiksen has said.
“If one travels from Denmark and joins the Islamic State and fights against Danish soldiers, then I think that you have committed treason. I want to ensure that the legality is in order, but that is my clear political signal,” Frederiksen told broadcaster DR.
At that point, Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said there were no judicial grounds for charging foreign fighters with treason.
Frederiksen has now asked the ministry’s criminal law committee to determine whether, and how, foreign fighters can be charged with treason. Frederiksen said she expects the committee to give its recommendations before the summer.
Opposition parties cheered Frederiksen’s move.
“It is essential that people who go down there to fight against Danish soldiers and Danish values be held responsible for their actions,” Danish People’s Party spokesman Kristian Thulesen Dahl told DR.
But a leading lawyer with a national legal policy association said that the burden of proof would be almost insurmountable, making the proposed legal manoeuvre an empty gesture.
“One must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that what they [Syria fighters, ed.] are charged with is correct. Otherwise, they need to be acquitted. And I think that’s where the problem lies. There will be a lack of proof. And that’s something that can’t be changed just by making a new regulation,” Bjørn Elmquist, the chairman of Retspolitisk Forening, told DR.
Sweden's home affairs minister, meanwhile, is calling for increased cooperation and better information sharing between EU countries, telling The Local Sweden
that "we must not let the dark forces win".
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