* The initial report submitted by the Government of Denmark is contained
in document CAT/C/5/Add.4; for its consideration by the Committee,
see documents CAT/C/SR.12 and 13 and the Official Records of
the General Assembly, forty-sixth session, supplement No. 44
(A/46/44), paragraphs 94-122. [22 February 1995]
1. This report is submitted in pursuance of article 19, paragraph
1, of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment which entered into force with
respect to Denmark on 26 June 1987.
2. The report is organized in conformity with the General Guidelines
regarding the form and contents of reports to be submitted by States
parties under article 19, paragraph 1, of the Convention (CAT/C/14).
3. The report concentrates on developments since the submission
of the initial report in 1988. Furthermore, please note the general
description of Danish society in the core document, which will be
submitted shortly, and the comments from the International Rehabilitation
and Research Centre for Torture Victims which are attached as an
annex to this report.
4. Since the submission of the initial report in 1988, Denmark has
ratified the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and in the period
from 2 December to 8 December 1990, the Committee on the Prevention
of Torture (CPT) paid a routine visit to Denmark. It appears from
the report made by CPT in July 1991 in respect of the visit that
the Committee did not find any indications of torture in the Danish
prisons it visited. On the contrary, the Committee in many respects
gained a positive impression of the Danish prisons, for instance
regarding the prisoners' possibility to receive visitors, the hygiene
in the prisons, educational and training facilities for the prisoners,
the library system and the spokesman scheme.
5. After the visit, CPT put forward a number of recommendations
and comments which the Danish authorities, to a wide degree, have
carried out. Certain points are still being debated as part of the
ongoing communication between CPT and the Government, which is provided
for under the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture
and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
6. Since the submission of the initial report in 1988, Denmark has
incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights en bloc
into Danish law by Act No. 285 of 29 April 1992. The reason for
incorporating the European Convention on Human Rights, to which
Denmark has been a contracting party since 1953, was primarily a
desire to increase awareness of the Convention among judges, the
prosecution, the police and lawyers, as well as in society as a
7. The European Convention on Human Rights was also applied by the
Danish courts before it was incorporated in Danish law. However,
there seems to have been a rise in the number of court decisions
referring directly to the Convention since it was incorporated.
8. Since the submission of the initial report in 1988, Denmark,
furthermore, on 24 February 1994, ratified the Second Optional Protocol
to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aiming
at the abolition of the death penalty. Consequently, the Protocol
entered into force with
respect to Denmark on 24 May 1994. In order for Denmark to be in
a position to ratify the Protocol, the provision for the death penalty
in respect of certain serious offences committed during the occupation
of Denmark in the Second World War has been repealed. The repeal
was effected by Act No. 1097 of 22 December 1993 and subsequently
not even a theoretical provision for the death penalty exists in
Information on new measures and developments relating to
the implementation of the Torture Convention
Articles 1 to 4
9. There have been no changes in legislation or practice in relation
to these provisions.
10. As mentioned in the initial report (para. 19), Denmark, in 1986,
established jurisdiction based on the principle of aut dedere
aut judicare with a view to fulfilling the requirements as to
jurisdiction under article 5.
11. It might be noted that on the basis of the above-mentioned established
jurisdiction, charges have been brought against one person now staying
in Denmark for having resorted to violence of a particularly raw,
brutal or dangerous character and of such a serious nature that
it constitutes particularly aggravating circumstances in 24 instances
in a Croatian prison camp. Two of the victims died.
12. The case concerns a person from the former Yugoslavia, a Muslim
man married to a Croatian woman. He was himself a prisoner-of-war
in a Croatian prison camp but had - probably because of his marriage
to a Croatian woman - a special supervisory role in the camp. The
aggrieved parties have in their statements to the police described
the defendant as a prison guard, a supervisor and a "super
13. The criminal trial against the person in question was initiated
before a jury in the Eastern High Court on 7 November 1994. On 22
November 1994, after having been found guilty on the majority of
the counts, the defendant was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment.
The defendant has appealed against the decision to the Danish Supreme
14. Please see the initial report submitted by Denmark (paras. 20-24)
as the information given in that report still applies. It should
be mentioned that the person who was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment
for having committed war crimes in a Croatian prison camp (see paras.
11-13 above) has been held in custody since the Danish authorities
received information about the accusations against him.
15. Please see paragraphs 11 to 13 above concerning the charges
which have been brought against a person from the former Yugoslavia
for war crimes.
Articles 8 and 9
16. Denmark has through its work in the United Nations participated
in the establishment of the International Tribunal for the Prosecution
of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of Humanitarian Law
Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991.
The legal foundation for the Danish cooperation with the Tribunal
and the legislation necessary in this respect relating among other
things to the extradition of suspects for prosecution by the Tribunal
have been implemented by Act No. 1099 of 21 December 1994 on prosecution
by the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of War Crimes
in the Former Yugoslavia. The Act came into force on 1 January 1995.
17. The Act provides that the Minister for Justice can decide that
the Act, with the necessary amendments, might apply in other cases
of international prosecution of war crimes. It could, for instance,
be applied in relation to other tribunals for the prosecution of
war crimes, including the International Tribunal for Rwanda which
the Security Council decided to establish on 8 November 1994 (resolution
18. So far the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
has not asked to have any persons staying in Denmark extradited
for prosecution. Please note that the defence lawyer for the person
mentioned in paragraphs 11 to 13 above inquired of the Chief Prosecutor
of the Tribunal whether a request would be made for the person in
question to be extradited for prosecution before the Tribunal. The
Chief Prosecutor replied that such a request would not, at present,
be put forward.
19. Finally, it should be mentioned that Denmark has taken a number
of initiatives with the purpose of procuring information for the
future work of the Tribunal. It has thus been decided that the police
may question persons from the former Yugoslavia who wish to give
statements in respect of the fact that they have either been victims
or witnesses of war crimes or serious human rights violations in
connection with the conflict in the former Yugoslavia.
20. A special arrangement has been made with a view to ensuring
that any information concerning war crimes committed in the former
Yugoslavia which persons staying in Denmark might have is brought
to light. The arrangement works as follows: nurses at the Red Cross
centres where persons from the former Yugoslavia are staying hand
out questionnaires to the persons who think they hold information
on war crimes.
21. These questionnaires are then sent to the Office of the National
Commissioner of the Danish Police (Rigspolitiet) who assesses whether
the information might be adequate to initiate proceedings against
one or several perpetrators. If so, the Office of the National Commissioner
will summon the
person who has filled in the questionnaire for a more extensive
When all the relevant information has been collected, the Office
of the National Commissioner will pass the information on, depending
on the circumstances, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a
view to it being passed on to the Tribunal and/or other United Nations
organizations or organs.
22. In addition to this special arrangement, the police will, as
usual, initiate a standard criminal investigation in the event that
persons staying in Denmark are suspected of having committed or
assisted in war crimes.
23. Concerning police personnel, it should be noted that, as part
of the mandatory training which all members of the police force
go through at the Danish Police Academy (Politiskolen) when they
join the force, they are carefully instructed that while carrying
out their duties they are not allowed to use excessive force. They
are constantly made aware of this fact during their training at
the Academy. In this connection, it might be mentioned that it appears
directly from the Danish Administration of Justice Act (retsplejeloven)
that an arrest must be made in as gentle a manner as possible (sect.
758, para. 1). As of the summer of 1995, the subject "Human
Rights" will be part of the basic training of police officers.
24. Regarding personnel employed in the Prison Service (kriminalforsorgen),
it should be noted that everyone who starts work in the Prison Service
must follow an introductory training programme which, among other
things, includes a general presentation of international conventions
including the Torture Convention. In connection with the ongoing
training of employees, this subject is constantly brought up again.
As part of the course "Prison Service Training" (kriminalforsorgslære),
uniformed personnel are informed about the most important international
conventions concerning the treatment of prisoners. In this connection,
the Torture Convention is a specific part of the curriculum.
25. In order to make sure that the right persons are employed to
work in the Prison Service, the focus of the training of personnel
is not just on the trainee's knowledge of the subjects but on their
willingness and ability to use this knowledge in practice. The attitude
of the trainee is thus of decisive importance.
26. Additionally, the Danish prison system is very open, which in
itself is an important guarantee against violations as the prisoners'
possibility to receive visitors at short intervals is an effective
control of conditions in detention.
27. Medical doctors working within the framework of the Prison Service
are trained in the particular conditions which they must be aware
of. This training takes place, for instance, at conferences on medical
ethics for doctors working in the Prison Service, at which they
are informed about the contents of the international conventions
relating to this area.
28. Please see paragraphs 29 to 31 of the initial report submitted
by Denmark, which still apply.
29. During the Committee's consideration of the initial report submitted
by Denmark, requests were made for, among other things, a detailed
account of two aspects, namely when criminal cases are dealt with
orally and the regulations concerning the appointment of defence
30. It may be noted in this connection that all criminal cases are
dealt with orally. Certain decisions during the investigation may
on the other hand be made without oral consideration. Such decisions
involve, for instance, appeal hearings with regard to issues such
as custody, searches and other measures under criminal procedure.
Equally, a particular appeal regarding questions of form occurring
during the oral proceedings of a criminal case will be dealt with
in writing unless the appeal instance complies with a request for
an oral discussion of the case.
31. Concerning the regulations on the assistance of a defence lawyer,
the legal position in Denmark is that anyone charged with a criminal
offence is entitled to take on a defence lawyer. If, during the
criminal proceedings, it appears that the penalty will be stricter
than either a fine or simple detention, a lawyer will be appointed
for the defendant, if the party in question has not already taken
on a lawyer. The same applies if lay assessors are to assist in
the case, if the examination of the defendant is to take place behind
closed doors and if the proceedings are based on a complaint, regardless
of the fact that the defendant had the assistance of a lawyer at
the court of first instance.
32. The fee paid to an appointed lawyer will initially be paid by
the State but if the defendant is found guilty, the sentence may
state that the party in question is to pay the costs of the case.
If so, the authorities will try to collect the fee paid to the defence
lawyer from the convicted party.
Articles 12 and 13
33. In 1990, the Copenhagen City Court passed sentence in a private
criminal case which the Danish Union of Prison Staff had brought
against two nurses formerly employed by the Prison Service in Copenhagen
for defamation based on an article in which the two nurses criticized
the treatment that asylum-seekers received in prisons in Copenhagen.
In spite of the fact that a few of the statements which the two
nurses had made were found to be without basis in fact, they were
34. On this basis, the Ministry of Justice decided, with reference
to international United Nations commitments, to ask a judge to carry
out an investigation of the treatment of refugees in the prisons
in Copenhagen. In February 1991, two specific cases regarding the
treatment of aliens were included in the investigation.
35. In March 1992, the judge submitted a report on the two specific
cases. The judge did not find that the cases involved torture or
other degrading treatment, but he pointed out that the personnel
were responsible for certain mistakes and instances of negligence
in connection with the two cases.
However, the judge did not find that these involved criminal liability
or gave rise to more serious disciplinary action against the persons
involved. Some employees were reprimanded on the basis of the report.
36. In 1993, the judge submitted the general part of his report,
from which it appears that it has not been possible to identify
a "core group" of employees with a hostile attitude towards
refugees. However, the judge criticized some officials in the Prison
Service after having examined a number of specific cases. The Ministry
of Justice, Department of Prisons and Probation, did not find grounds
for taking disciplinary measures against the persons in question,
but consented to the critique put forward by the judge and pointed
out the incidents to the persons involved.
37. On the basis of the conditions which the judge considered in
his reports, the Prison Service has implemented a number of reforms
and structural changes, including improved information to detained
aliens and improved training of the personnel to help them handle
crisis situations. Furthermore, the Ministry of Justice, Department
of Prisons and Probation, has issued guidelines regarding the duty
of the personnel to report violence and other instances of criticizable
conduct vis-à-vis the prisoners immediately, and directly
to the management of the workplace.
38. Trials are currently pending before the courts concerning the
question of compensation of the two persons to whom the above-mentioned
39. Amnesty International has mentioned the two cases, both directly
to the Danish Government and in the annual reports of the organization,
and has also been critical of the two reports submitted by the judge
regarding the cases. Amnesty International was primarily of the
opinion that the judge's assessments of whether these were cases
of torture or other degrading treatment were not correct and that
the incidents ought to have had disciplinary consequences for the
officials involved, and furthermore that the two parties in question
ought to have received compensation.
40. In June 1994, Amnesty International published a report on the
Danish police in which the Danish police is criticized in general
on a number of counts. This criticism is based partly on a number
of specific cases and partly on a number of general matters including
the use by the Danish police of the "leg-lock" position.
41. In August 1994, the Danish Government received a request from
the United Nations for further information on the same issues which
were raised by Amnesty International in the report of June 1994.
42. Immediately after the publication of Amnesty International's
report, the Danish authorities initiated a number of investigations
into both the general matters as well as the specific cases mentioned
in the report.
43. As regards the use of the "leg-lock" by the police,
the Danish Minister for Justice decided on 29 June 1994 to suspend
the use of the kind of "fixed leg-lock" which was criticized
by Amnesty International and at the same time the Danish Ministry
of Justice asked the Medico-Legal Council, an independent medical
body, to make an assessment of the medical risks connected with
the use of this particular kind of fixed leg-lock.
44. On 30 November 1994, the Medico-Legal Council stated that owing
to the lack of exact scientific examinations, the possibility that
the fixed leg-lock position could be dangerous for persons who would
typically be put in this position could not be rejected and the
Council was therefore of the opinion that the method could not be
considered as being without medical risks. The Council furthermore
found that both pulse and breathing should be carefully watched
in connection with the use of all kinds of leg-lock where the person
is lying face down on the ground.
45. In a letter dated 2 December 1994, the Ministry of Justice asked
the National Commissioner of the Danish police to inform all police
districts of the assessment of the Medico-Legal Council and that
the suspension of the use of the above-mentioned kind of fixed leg-lock
had been made permanent based on this assessment.
46. As regards the specific cases dealt with by Amnesty International,
the Danish authorities have initiated a number of investigations.
Investigations are being conducted by the Copenhagen City Court,
by the Director of the Public Prosecution and by the District Public
Prosecutor for Sealand.
47. The Danish Government has informed the United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights about the steps described above and has furthermore
of course promised to inform the United Nations of the results of
the investigations that have been initiated as soon as they are
48. A person subjected to torture in Denmark has a right to claim
compensation from the person who subjected him or her to torture,
in a criminal case brought against the alleged offender. If the
person concerned is found guilty by the court, the court will have
to decide on the aggrieved party's claim for compensation, unless
the information concerning the question of compensation in the specific
case is found to be inadequate. The court might, in certain cases
when it is required, appoint an attorney for the aggrieved party
if the latter makes such a request.
49. Subject to the Act on Compensation from the State to Victims
of Criminal Offences, the State will grant compensation for personal
injuries caused by a breach of the Penal Code. It is, however, a
prerequisite for the granting of compensation that the breach is
reported to the police without unnecessary delay. In return, compensation
will be granted even though the perpetrator may not be found.
50. The implications of the above-mentioned Act are thus that a
person who may have been subjected to torture in Denmark will be
in a position to have a claim for compensation against the perpetrator
adjudged in connection with a possible criminal case against the
alleged perpetrator and, additionally, the aggrieved party might
receive compensation from the State if, for instance, the perpetrator
is not found or if he or she does not have enough money to pay the
51. There have been no changes in legislation or practice in relation
to this provision.
52. Please see paragraphs 33 to 45 above.
COMMENTS FROM THE INTERNATIONAL REHABILITATION AND RESEARCH CENTRE
FOR TORTURE VICTIMS
1. Referring to the annex to document CAT/C/5/Add.4, the following
primarily concerns developments since 1988.
2. The Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims (RCT)
and its sister organization, the International Rehabilitation Council
for Torture Victims (IRCT) are independent, private organizations.
However, they received considerable subsidies from the Danish Government,
in 1994 D.Kr. 7,885,800 to the RCT, and D.Kr. 14,759,200 to the
IRCT. The RCT contributes to the fulfilment of the commitment of
Denmark under the Convention against Torture, especially as stated
in articles 3, 10 and 14.
3. In order not to "refouler" persons, it is necessary
for persons who are involved in dealing with asylum cases to know
about the behaviour of torture victims. The RCT provides teaching
on the issue to a number of persons and organizations:
(i) The border police (the first ones to receive asylum-seekers);
(ii) Staff of the Danish Red Cross, who are responsible for the
running of centres where asylum-seekers stay until their applications
for asylum have been decided upon;
(iii) Those persons in the various police districts who are responsible
for foreigners; and finally
(iv) Members of the Danish Refugee Board, the Board which decides
whether a person should receive asylum or not.
4. As described in the annex to document CAT/C/5/Add.4, the Danish
Government attaches very great importance to education and information
about the prevention of torture. The RCT/IRCT use 21.5 per cent
of their budgets on education and information activities. In 1994,
as an example, 6,680 persons received training and information for
a shorter or longer period of time. Of these 3,168 were Danish citizens
and 3,512 foreigners. The eduction of special groups has been extended
since 1988 among others to the groups mentioned under article 3.
Furthermore, supplementary teaching is given to the police, to judges
and to all prison doctors in Denmark.
5. The pre-graduate curriculum now contains education of all medical
students, all dentist students, all nurse students and all physiotherapy
students in Denmark, and there are optional courses within the law
6. Postgraduate education is given to certain groups of lawyers
and to all psychiatrists.
7. The RCT has produced relevant teaching material for the various
groups, of course in Danish, but part of it also in Albanian, Arabic,
English, French, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish and Ukrainian.
8. As may be seen in paragraph 35 of the first periodic report,
no person in Denmark has been charged with practising torture, and
as a consequence there are no Danish torture victims.
9. The RCT treats persons who have obtained asylum in Denmark, and
who earlier have been exposed to torture. The RCT seeks to give
"as full rehabilitation as possible", consisting of psychological
and physiotherapeutical treatment of the torture survivors and their
relatives and social counselling, all with due regard to cultural
differences. Until now, the Centre in Copenhagen has treated persons
from more than 50 different nations.
10. The RCT is the first centre of its kind and has over the years
through research sought to bring the treatment of the survivors
to perfection. This knowledge has been spread globally by the IRCT,
which now has a network of 74 treatment centres in 43 countries,
and initiatives in 28 other countries.
11. The RCT provides advice on budgetary questions relating to the
treatment of torture victims in the European Union and to the United
Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture.
12. The IRCT has held several international meetings on the problems
of "Torture as a health problem" and "Doctors as
torturers". At one of the meetings the "IRCT Declaration
of Istanbul", was adopted. The text of the Declaration was
reproduced in a document of the Commission on Human Rights (E/CN.4/1993/23/Add.2,