Danish military officials are to launch an investigation into allegations that troops violated the Geneva Convention by mistreating prisoners during the Iraq War.
The Geneva Convention is a series of treaties designed to protect civilians, prisoners of war and soldiers considered incapable of fighting during wartime.
Members of the Danish military allegedly handed over at least 12 Iraqi POWs to local authorities in 2004. The personnel had received orders not to, amid fears they would be sentenced to death, according to a document obtained by a Freedom of Information request by the Danish daily broadsheet Politiken seen by the Local.De website.
The order was issued in light of the new Iraqi government’s decision to introduce the death penalty, and in a climate where prisoners faced torture and execution before cases were heard in court.
As international conventions forbid the execution of wartime prisoners, passing over the prisoners would therefore have violated the POWs’ human rights.
The document also revealed that the Danish military detained around 500 prisoners during the war, with 260 of those being passed to the Iraqi authorities and 55 to British forces.
However, The Danish military may have broken further Geneva Convention rules by recording only 43 of the 500 prisoners, and not being given handover receipts for those handed to the Iraqi authorities.
The Military Prosecution Service told the Ritzau news agency in a statement that it will launch an investigation to establish whether the information warrants criminal action.
Holger K. Nielsen, Denmark's former foreign minister and Socialist People’s Party MP, said the allegations left him “speechless”.
The Iraq War: A timeline
The Iraq War: A timeline
1/16 11 September 2001
Terrorists belonging to al-Qaeda use hijacked aeroplanes to kill 2,996 people in attacks on the east coast of the US.
2/16 12 September 2001
Tony Blair promises George W Bush that the UK will support the US, whatever the President decides to do.
3/16 25 March 2002
Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary, warns Blair that invading Iraq would be legally dubious.
4/16 June 2002
Tony Blair asks defence officials to outline options for UK participation in military action against Iraq.
5/16 24 September 2002
The government publishes a dossier about the threat from Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. A foreword by Tony Blair states that Saddam Hussein’s “military planning allows for some of the WMD to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them”. It is subsequently alleged that this dossier was “sexed up” for political reasons.
6/16 2 October 2002
Congress authorises President Bush to use military force against Iraq.
7/16 8 November 2002
UN Security Council passes resolution 1441, insisting that weapons inspectors be allowed back into Iraq and calling on the regime to give up its WMD or face the consequences.
8/16 18 July 2003
David Kelly, an expert in biological warfare, is found dead after being named as the source of quotations used by the BBC’s Andrew Gilligan to suggest that the dossier of September 2002 had been “sexed up”. Lord Hutton is appointed to chair a judicial inquiry into his death.
9/16 13 December 2003
Saddam Hussein is captured near Tikrit, after nine months in hiding.
10/16 2 March 2004
Bombings in Baghdad and Karbala kill nearly 200 people: the worst attacks since the fall of Saddam.
11/16 14 September 2005
Bombs in Baghdad kill 160 people and injure more than 500.
12/16 30 December 2005
Saddam Hussein is executed.
13/16 28 May 2009
The last British combat troops leave Iraq.
14/16 24 November 2009
The Chilcot inquiry holds its first public hearing.
15/16 2 February 2011
The Chilcot inquiry holds its final public hearing.
16/16 21 January 2015
Sir John Chilcot confirms that his report will not be published before the general election in May 2015.
The revelations come as the British Government continues its six-year wait for the results of the Chilcot Inquiry into the UK’s involvement in the Iraq War,
Prime Minister David Cameron recently said he is “losing patience” after Sir John Chilcot said the report may not be ready for another year.Reuse content