Iraqis likely to give up torture suit
Decision to require torture victims to pay court costs makes it unlikely the can pursue their suit against the state
A group of 23 Iraqis who claim to have been tortured in the presence of Danish soldiers are likely to drop their lawsuit against the Danish state after judiciary officials ruled they would be required to pay court costs.
The decision by Processbevillingsnævnet overturns a September decision by the Supreme Court to allow the Iraqis’ case to proceed free of charge due to its precedent-setting nature.
The military had asked the court to require the Iraqis to cover their court charges, but the Supreme Court called the request “unfair”.
Decision “sabotages” case
During the incident in question, the plaintiffs say they were mistreated at the hands of Iraqi police while in the presence of Danish soldiers. Doctors later confirmed that the men had been mistreated, but could not determine when they suffered their injuries.
Christian Harlang, a lawyer for the group, accused the authorities of “sabotaging” the case.
“Having to pay court costs means our only option is to give up the case,” Harlang said.
Statute of limitations speculated
Processbevillingsnævnet is not required to state its reasons for requiring court fees to be paid, and it did not do so. It is believed, however, that the state’s legal counsellors argued that court fees not be waived since the statute of limitations had expired.
It is possible for the defence minister, Nicolai Wammen (S), to allow the case to proceed, but in an e-mail to Politiken newspaper, he stated he would not do so.