Danish High Court to hear citizens’ case re ‘anti-constitutional’ invasion of Iraq

by Coilín ÓhAiseadha, Indymedia Ireland, 2007

On 29 January, the High Court of Eastern Denmark will begin its hearing of a case in which a group of Danish citizens assert that Denmark’s participation in the invasion of Iraq was in breach of the Danish constitution. Plaintiffs include parents of Danish soldier killed in Iraq.

The article below is based on a press release issued by the Danish Constitution Committee, Grundlovskomiteen af 2003, which is bringing the case against the Danish Prime Minister.
The 26 plaintiffs include the Kirkmand couple whose son, First Lieutenant Bjarke Kirkmand, was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq in October 2005. The plaintiffs would like the court’s judgement that the invasion was anti-constitutional, so as to prevent further infringements of the constitution in connection with fresh military attacks in contravention of the resolutions of the United Nations.

The Kammeradvokat, i.e. the lawyer representing the Danish state and Prime Minister, has argued that in his view the plaintiffs do not have ‘legal interest’ on which to base a prosecution. According to the Kammeradvokat, the fact that Denmark is at war in Iraq is none of the Danish people's business. Nor is it any of Mr and Mrs Kirkmand's business that they have lost their 21-year-old son in an Denmark's anti-constitutional participation in the war.

The High Court of Eastern Denmark has set aside 12 days in January and February, where the 26 plaintiffs in the case will testify.

In addition to these primary plaintiffs, the case has an additional 3,400 support plaintiffs (supplementary interveners), many of whom will turn up for the historic case. Those who wish to be sure of a seat should turn up punctually at court E of the Eastern High Court, Bredgade 42, in Copenhagen on Monday 29 January. The court will commence sitting at 9.30 am.

On Tuesday 23 January, a conference will be held in the Danish parliament building, Christiansborg, where the legal problems concerning Denmark’s participation in the war will be discussed by former justice minister and professor in constitutional law Ole Espersen and by the two lawyers in the constitutional case, Bjørn Elmquist and Christian Harlang. In addition, the eminent British barrister Philip Sapsford will talk about a related case in the United Kingdom.