Practice Relating to Rule 157. Jurisdiction over War Crimes
Denmark’s Penal Code (1930), as amended to 2008, states:
The following acts committed outside the territory of the Danish State shall also come within Danish criminal jurisdiction, irrespective of the nationality of the perpetrator:
5) where the act is covered by an international convention in pursuance of which Denmark is under an obligation to start legal proceedings; or
6) where transfer of the accused for legal proceedings in another country is rejected, and the act, provided it is committed within the territory recognized by international law as belonging to a foreign State, is punishable according to the law of this State, and provided that according to Danish law the act is punishable with a sentence more severe than one year of imprisonment.
Acts committed outside the Danish State are subject to Danish criminal jurisdiction where acts of the kind described fall within the  Statute of the International Criminal Court, provided that any such act was committed by a person who, at the date of the provisional charge was
(1) a Danish national or had his abode or similar habitual residence in Denmark; or
(2) was staying in Denmark.
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (1973), as amended in 1978, provides:
2. Where the punishable act was committed outside the territory of the Danish State, this Act shall also apply.
3. Where offences are committed against foreign defence forces which cooperate with the Danish forces, this Act shall also apply.
5. This Act shall cover service personnel as well as military personnel discharged, in respect of the military obligations which they are subject to after having been discharged.
(2) This Act shall, furthermore, cover foreign military persons who are interned in this country and other persons who, pursuant to an international agreement entered into by Denmark, are entitled to treatment like the former.
6. In time of war this Act shall, furthermore, cover:
1) any person who serves in the military defence or follows a unit thereof;
2) prisoners of war as well as medical troops and chaplains to the forces who are detained to assist these unless otherwise provided under current international agreements;
3) any person who is found guilty of one of the criminal offences mentioned in sections 24–25 and 30–36.
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (2005) provides:
1. The present act shall apply to military personnel in active service and discharged military personnel regarding military duties imposed on such personnel after their discharge.
(2) The present act shall also apply to foreign military personnel interned in this country and other persons who are, according to international agreements entered into by Denmark, entitled to treatment as military personnel.
2. In an armed conflict, the present act shall also cover:
1) anybody serving in the armed forces or accompanying a unit thereof, and
2) prisoners of war and medical staff and army chaplains who are retained to assist prisoners of war, provided that there are no stipulations to the contrary in current international agreements, and
3) anybody who is guilty of a violation of §§ 28–34 and 36–38 of the present act.
3. The act shall apply to crimes committed within and outside the Danish state.
4. The act shall also apply to crimes committed against the military forces of other countries cooperating with Danish military forces.
5. Danish penal authority shall, cf. §§ 6–12 of the Penal Code, also cover violations of §§ 28–30 and 32 carried out during armed conflict outside the Danish state regardless of where the offender belongs, unless otherwise provided for in general international law.
(2) Danish penal authority shall furthermore cover violations of §§ 36 and 38 committed outside the Danish state regardless of where the offender belongs, when the violation was committed against Danish military personnel or people covered by § 2 (1) and (2).
Denmark’s Penal Code (1978) provides:
The following acts committed outside of the territory of the Danish state shall also come within Danish criminal jurisdiction, irrespective of the nationality of the perpetrator:
5) where the act is covered by an international convention in pursuance of which Denmark is under an obligation to start judicial proceedings;
6) where transfer of the accused for legal proceedings in another country is rejected, and the act, provided it is committed within the territory recognized by international law as belonging to a foreign state, is punishable according to the law of this state, and provided that according to Danish law the act is punishable with a sentence more severe than one year of imprisonment.
In the Sarić case
in 1994, Denmark’s High Court tried a Bosnian Muslim refugee arrested in Denmark on charges of torture of prisoners of war in violation of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. The accused was convicted and sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment.
Jurisdiction was based on the grave breaches provisions of Articles 129 and 130 of the 1949 Geneva Convention III and Articles 146 and 147 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV in conjunction with Article 8(5) of the Danish Penal Code, which provides Danish Courts with jurisdiction to try perpetrators of certain crimes when Denmark is bound by a treaty to do so. The verdict was confirmed by the Supreme Court in 1995.