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Danish court orders ministry to compensate Iraqi civilians

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A police car patrols in front of Jyllands Posten / Politiken's house at City Hall Square in Copenhagen on January 9, 2015. (AFP)
  • The ruling “is problematic because it puts Denmark in a very difficult situation when we send out soldiers
  • The court said each civilian should get 30,000 kroner ($4,716) in compensation

COPENHAGEN: A Danish court on Friday ordered the country’s Defense Ministry to compensate 18 Iraqi civilians detained by Iraqi security troops during a 2014 military operation in Iraq in which Danish soldiers assisted.

The Eastern High Court in Copenhagen says the Danish soldiers did not abuse any of the Iraqi civilians but they knew the detainees were “in real danger of being exposed to inhumane treatment in terms of being hit and kicked” by the Iraqi forces.
The court said Friday it was the responsibility of the Danish troops because they did not intervene.

The court said each civilian should get 30,000 kroner ($4,716) in compensation, adding the Iraqi security forces had rounded up the detainees “on suspicion of being armed terrorists or rebels.”

Defense Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen said his ministry would appeal. The ruling “is problematic because it puts Denmark in a very difficult situation when we send out soldiers,” he said, adding that “in some situations it means that we cannot contribute to improving the security situation — hence the human rights situation — in conflict areas.

That doesn’t benefit anyone.” Christian Harlang, who handled the case for 23 Iraqi plaintiffs, called the ruling “an important victory” because Western countries “in the future should observe the rules of not only military engagement, but also human rights as binding standards for military operations.”
Of the 23, only 18 were granted compensation.