Practice Relating to Rule 154. Obedience to Superior Orders
In its judgment in the Hommel case in 2006, Denmark’s Eastern High Court was given evidence proving that, during interrogations of Iraqi detainees, an intelligence officer of the Danish armed forces had, inter alia, forced the detainees to stay in uncomfortable positions and used “forceful expressions”. The High Court stated:
This process is in itself hardly in agreement with the protection afforded to detainees in accordance with the [Fourth Geneva] Convention’s Articles 27 and 31. However, the High Court shall not make any assessment hereof as the High Court is only to consider whether the defendant … during the interrogations has “gravely” neglected her military duties as stated in the indictment, in accordance with the Military Penal Code paragraph 27.
[I]t has to be noted that [the defendant] by her superiors was given the task of interrogating the detainees with the purpose of assessing whether they were to be released, whether they were normal criminals that were to be transferred to the Iraqi authorities or whether they were a danger to the Coalition so that they should be transferred to the British forces. She used methods, among others the dominating attitude, which she had learned during the POWEX-training, and which no one had informed her could no longer be used. She had no further guidelines for the interrogations, and was given no guidance from her superiors when she queried this. Nobody intervened in the individual interrogations. Neither did any of the detainees suffer any injury nor did they complain.
Under these circumstances, the High Court does not find that the defendant … “gravely” neglected her duties by interrogating the detained Iraqis under the circumstances that according to the individual indictments have been proven above.