International Round-Up : New bill proposed to send deported criminals to serve sentences in Kosovo

Meanwhile, in other news, a new bill will be swiftly passed later this week to ensure Ukrainians can quickly settle in Denmark

The justice minister, Nick Hækkerup, has prepared a new bill for consultation that will implement a new multi-year agreement for the criminal justice system – which was concluded in December 2021 – will will enable Denmark to  send deportable convicts to serve their sentences in Kosovo. 

The new agreement proposes allocating about 4 billion kroner for the period 2022-2025.

Not enough officers nor places 
This historic increase should help the criminal justice system to recover, as there are currently too few prison officers and too few places. It is expected that by 2025, the prison services will lack up to 1,000 places.  

The new bill will make it possible to send around 300 deportees to serve their sentences in Kosovo. This would therefore free up prison places in Denmark.  

By chance, 300 is also the number of pages in the bill that Hækkerup explained will “ensure the legal basis for sending criminals who have been sentenced to deportation and who are undesirable and have no future in Denmark to serve their sentences in Kosovo”.

Human rights respected 
The agreement with Kosovo is historic, but it is also a legal breakthrough for Denmark. “With a future agreement, we must ensure that the conditions in the prison in Kosovo are basically equivalent to a prison in Denmark,” continued Hækkerup.  

“We are therefore proposing a number of changes to the legislation that will safeguard the conditions, rights and duties of prisoners during their sentences.” 

Denmark’s international obligations will be respected in the prison, and health laws will be amended to safeguard the treatment of prisoners in Kosovo. At the same time, rules will be established in areas under the control of the Immigration and Integration Ministry to ensure that, as far as possible, prisoners can be sent directly from Kosovo to their countries of origin. 

What else is in the draft
The draft also includes a change in sentencing for Covid-19 related crimes – which is expected to reduce the prison population by approximately 250 prison places by 2025.  

Other dispositions are a new disciplinary punishment system, a new model for criminal procedure costs, a new release model, and salaries for prison officers in training. 

The draft law has now been sent for consultation and is expected to be tabled before the end of April. 

Danish companies have blood on their hands 
Mykhailo Vydoinyk, the Ukrainian ambassador, claims that Danish companies have blood on their hands, even though many of them have stopped all business dealings in Russia and with Russian entities. Vydoinyk urges all Danish companies to leave Russia. Those who remain, he contends, must take responsibility for some of the casualties – particularly among children. Both the business minister, Simon Kollerup, and foreign minister, Jeppe Kofod, have said they are proud of the effort made by Danish companies to distance themselves. 

Development minister sends help for Ukrainian refugees in Moldova 
A new donation of 25 million kroner has taken the total of Danish humanitarian aid to take care of Ukrainian refugees up to 305 million kroner. The money will be handed over by the development minister, Flemming Møller Mortensen, to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The fund will be used to help refugees in Moldova – one of the poorest countries in Europe – where 259,000 of the 2.3 million Ukrainian refugees fled. Most of them have since departed for other countries, but an estimated 82,000 have stayed.

Foreign tourists coming back 
Tourists have started to return to Denmark in earnest after two years of staying away due to the pandemic. Of the 785,000 overnight stays registered in January, 174,000 were booked by tourists – three times the number in January last year but still well below the same month in 2020. 

Vaccines on the way for Ukrainian refugees (but not corona this time) 
Following a plea made by Poland through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, Denmark is donating MFR vaccines and DiTE vaccines to Ukrainian refugees in the country. Statens Serum Institut currently has 40,000 MFR vaccines and 93,000 DiTE vaccines that can be donated immediately without affecting Danish preparedness. The vaccines respectively protect against measles, mumps, and rubella, and against diphtheria and tetanus. The cost of the donation will be covered within the framework of 50 million kroner approved by the government for the donation of medicines and medical equipment to Ukraine and affected neighbouring countries. 

Prime Minister visits NATO headquarters in Poland  
PM Mette Frederiksen was in Poland on March 10 before going to France for an informal EU summit. Her visit to NATO Headquarters Multinational Corps North-East (MNC-NE) in Szczecin included a meeting with Danes deployed there. The Paris Summit will focus on the current situation in Ukraine and the security and economic consequences. “Europe stands together to help Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. At the same time, we must actively contribute to the security of Europe and our neighbourhood, and I look forward to meeting the Danish soldiers who are helping every day to ensure a strong and robust deterrent against Russia in our neighbourhood.”  

Two Swedes charged with murder in Vesterbro 
Two Swedish men have been arrested in the case of a murder in Vesterbro on February 4. A third man – a Dane – is being held in Sweden, but refuses to be extradited to Denmark. They are suspected of shooting dead a 36-year-old man – also a Swedish citizen. Copenhagen Police have therefore requested the Dane’s extradition. Police spokesperson Lars-Ole Karlsen said the killing was believed to be gang-related. All three suspects are part of the gang scene in Malmö while the murdered man was linked to the Copenhagen gang scene. The preliminary hearing took place last Wednesday.  

52-year-old Brit has stolen 320 million from the Danish state 
A third British citizen has been charged with defrauding the Danish treasury – this time for a sum of 320 million kroner. In total, fraudsters used a share dividend refund scheme to defraud the treasury out of 12.7 billion kroner. The alarm bell was sounded in 2015. The ‘third man’ has links to a company called Salgado Capital, which was used to extract large sums from the Danish treasury between 2012 and 2015. 

Municipalities authorised to house displaced Ukrainian  
The government will allow municipalities to help Ukrainians with accommodation and food until the expected special law on accommodation comes into force – most likely on Thursday this week. A broad majority in Parliament backed the bill. It should enable Ukrainian refugees to quickly obtain a residence permit so they can get a job and education. Municipalities will be compensated by the bill for up to 500 kroner per person per day.  

Prime Minister fears use of chemical weapons in war in Ukraine 
PM Mette Frederiksen has warned that Russia’s use of chemical weapons would be a violation of international treaties. “There is a risk of that. No-one can give guarantees about how it will end and where it will end. We know that Putin has access to weapons that we in the West believe are totally unacceptable to use on people,” she said. Russia has previously been accused of using chemical weapon in assassination attempts: most recently on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in 2018 in Salisbury, and then on opposition politician Alexei Navalny in 2020. Last week, the International Criminal Court in The Hague opened an official investigation into possible war crimes in Ukraine.  

Danish soldiers have left for NATO mission in Estonia 
For the fifth time, Denmark and the Danish Armed Forces have deployed soldiers to the NATO mission ‘Enhanced Forward Presence’ in Estonia. More than 100 soldiers from the Jydske Dragonregiment left from Karup to Tapa in Estonia. For the next six months, the soldiers will be part of NATO’s forward presence in the east. Here they will be part of a British battalion combat group under an Estonian brigade. This underlines that NATO is united and stands behind its Baltic allies. At the end of the six months, the troops will be replaced by another Danish contribution – most probably in August. 

Denmark supports peace and stabilisation efforts in Syria and Iraq 
Denmark will contribute to inclusive peace and stability and reduce displacement and violent extremism in Syria and Iraq. The government will therefore support efforts in the countries – with 596.5 million kroner over the next four years – as part of the regional peace and stabilisation program. In Syria, the Danish effort will help promote a sustainable, negotiated end to the conflict, combat impunity, and support basic infrastructure and other stabilisation efforts in areas outside the regime’s control. In Iraq, the program will focus on promoting security and stability – through demining and security sector reform. 

Donated fire engines on their way to Poland 
Four privately-owned fire engines have been donated to Ukraine. The Danish Emergency Services transported the vehicles on March 11 to an EU warehouse in Poland. From there, the Ukrainian authorities will arrange transport into Ukraine. All four fire engines are fully functional and donated by the company RK Brand & Teknik. The fire engines include water tanks that can hold 2,500 litres of water for general firefighting.