Kingdom of Denmark
Head of state: Queen Margrethe II
Head of government: Lars Løkke Rasmussen (replaced Helle Thorning-Schmidt in June)

Impunity for the majority of rape cases continued. A commission established to investigate actions of Danish soldiers involved in military operations overseas was closed down by the government before it was able to come to any conclusions about possible wrongdoing.


The majority of reported rape cases were closed by the police or the prosecution and never reached trial. Most cases were closed due to "the state of the evidence".[1] During the year the State Prosecutors released two reports showing that many reported rape cases were being closed by the police before a formal police investigation had even been started, and in November the Director for Public Prosecutions called for changes to howpolice were handling these cases. The reports, however, did not include the examination of the reason for the disproportionately high attrition rate in prosecuting cases of rape.


People awaiting the result of their asylum claim or deportation to their country of origin – including victims of torture, unaccompanied children and persons with mental illness – continued to be held in detention for immigration control purposes. No effective screening of asylum-seekers was put in place to identify people who were unfit to be placed in detention.

In November, a number of potentially harmful amendments to the Aliens Act were introduced in order, according to the government, to respond to the increasing number of people seeking asylum in the country. The amendments included powers to temporarily suspend judicial oversight of decisions made by the police to detain asylum-seekers and migrants, as well as a widening of the grounds on which asylum-seekers can be detained by the police.


In September, the Eastern High Court ruled that the Copenhagen police had unlawfully removed and detained a protester during an official state visit by Chinese officials in 2012. During the hearing, evidence was heard alleging that the police removed demonstrators and confiscated their banners without an adequate legal basis. The Copenhagen police conceded that the evidence "raised doubts" about the police action and referred the case to the Independent Police Complaints Authority.

New evidence subsequently emerged suggesting that police officers acted on orders from superiors, despite denials by senior officers in a parliamentary hearing. The Copenhagen police also informed parliament that they were unable to identify the police officers involved, although a number of officers subsequently claimed that their identity had been known. As a result of this apparent misinformation and the alleged violations of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, the Ministry of Justice established a commission to investigate.


In June, the government closed down the Iraq-Afghanistan Commission established in 2012 by the previous government to investigate actions of Danish soldiers involved in military operations overseas. In particular, the Commission was tasked to investigate practices regarding the apprehension and detention of Iraqis, whether Danish soldiers had handed over detainees to personnel from other countries and determine Danish liability and responsibility for the detainee under international law. The Commission was closed before it could come to any conclusions, as the government stated that there was no need for such an investigation as no new information would emerge.

[1] Denmark: Human Rights in Review: 2011-2015 – Amnesty International Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review, January–February 2016 (EUR 18/2332/2015)

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