Denmark to toughen sanctions on coronavirus crimes

Denmark's government will on Thursday submit a second emergency coronavirus law to parliament, which will toughen punishments for coronavirus-related crimes, allow police to ban access to places they deem an infection risk, and make it easier to lower the size of allowed groups.

Denmark to toughen sanctions on coronavirus crimes
Justice Minister Nick Hækkerup said that the tougher sanctions were about sending a signal. Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Ritzau Scanpix
At a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, the country's justice minister Nick Hækkerup said that the government planned to quadruple the sanction on any companies caught fraudulently claiming funds under the government's financial aid packages.
It will also double the punishment on those who steal hand sanitiser or protective equipment from hospitals or pharmacies. “Going forward, you will go to jail if you commit that crime,” he said. 
The minister conceded that the toughened punishments were primarily about sending a signal to potential fraudsters or thieves. 
“We hope that it will make an impression when we multiply the punishments,” he said. “When we find that someone is abusing the situation to enrich themselves, we would like to signal that as a society, that is something we disavow.” 
After the press conference, DR reported that a letter from Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen to the chairman of the Danish parliament, Henrik Dam Kristensen, showed that other additional measures would be proposed on Thursday. 
There would also be legislative amendments which empower the government to reduce the maximum allowed group below ten at short notice. 
The new law would allow the government to ban access to new categories of place, such as playgrounds, without consulting parliament, and it would also empower the police to ban access to any specific place the health authorities deem an infection risk. 

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Denmark to add war crimes to criminal code

Denmark is to give international war crimes a specific paragraph in its criminal code, ending its position as one of the last European countries not to have specific laws on war crimes.

Denmark to add war crimes to criminal code

The government confirmed on Tuesday that it supports a motion by the opposition Socialist People’s Party (SF) to introduce a war crimes paragraph.

“I think it’s important to say first and foremost that war crimes are already illegal in Danish criminal law,” Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard told news wire Ritzau.

“It is not written in as specific clauses in the criminal law, but all offences that are war crimes are criminal,” he said.

“But with all that said, I think that SF has an important point in saying that the time has now come for us to introduce an independent criminalisation of war crimes. I think that would send out an important message to the world, and especially to victims,” he said.

“I will therefore, when the motion is discussed tomorrow [Tuesday, ed.] say, that the government backs criminalising war crimes independently under Danish law,” he said.

Hummelgaard plans to initiate a committee to look into how laws against war crimes can be written and added to the criminal code.

The committee will also consider whether sentences for war crimes should be higher than existing sentences given from crimes such as murder and torture.