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Denmark to add war crimes to criminal code

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Denmark to add war crimes to criminal code
Denmark's justice minister Peter Hummelgaard has confirmed the country will introduce a specific law for war crimes. Photo:Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Ritzau Scanpix

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.

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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.

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“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.

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