Practice Relating to Rule 146. Reprisals against Protected Persons
Section E. Civilians in general
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (1973), as amended in 1978, provides:
Any person who uses war instruments or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or the general rules of international law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. a fine, lenient imprisonment or up to 12 years’ imprisonment].
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (2005) provides:
Any person who deliberately uses war means [“krigsmiddel”] or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or international customary law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. imprisonment up to life imprisonment].
In 1972, during a debate in the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly on a resolution relative to measures to prevent international terrorism, Denmark stated: “The legitimacy of the use of force in international life did not in itself legitimize the use of certain forms of violence, especially against the innocent. That principle had long been recognized even in the customary law of war.” It concluded:
Consequently, even in time of war, acts of a terrorist nature were not a legitimate means of combat. Personally, he was convinced that acts such as the taking of hostages, reprisals and murder aimed at innocent persons had never truly served the struggle for independence and fundamental freedoms.