Danish court orders government to pay Iraq torture victims

Danish court orders government to pay Iraq torture victims
A Danish court has found that while the soldiers were not guilty of violence against Iraqis, they were aware of the 'real risk' posed by Iraq's security forces.
2 min read
17 June, 2018
Iraqis were subjected to "torture and inhumane treatment" during operation Green Desert in 2004 [Getty]
A Danish court has ordered on Friday the government to compensate 18 civilians tortured during the Iraq war, following the US-led 2003 invasion of the country.

Twenty-three plaintiffs sued Denmark after they were arrested and subjected to "torture and inhumane treatment" during Operation Green Desert in 2004 near Iraq's main port city of Basra.

Copenhagen's appeals court found that while Danish soldiers did not participate in the torture, they failed to prevent the abuse.

"The soldiers of the Danish battalion who were sent to Iraq in 2004 and partook in the operation were not found guilty of violence against the Iraqis," the court said.

However, the soldiers were aware that the prisoners faced a "real risk" of being abused by the Iraqi security forces, judges said. There was no evidence that the Danish battalion could have predicted the "systemic torture and violence" that took place, the court added.

Around 30,000 Danish kroner ($4,600) were awarded to the plaintiffs.

Danish Defence Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen said he was "satisfied" that the ruling exonerated the soldiers from the torture, however would appeal the verdict as it placed the country "in a difficult situation".

"This means that we can no longer contribute to improving security - and therefore guaranteeing human rights - in countries engaged in armed conflict," he said in a statement.

Denmark had 545 troops stationed in Iraq in 2013 during the peak deployment as part of the Multi-National Force Iraq.​