and racist campaign against Muslims, Somalis, Roma, Jews and other minority groups living in Denmark. In this context, DACoRD refers to the General Comment No. 31 of the Human Rights Committee , para 18, according to which “no official status justifies persons who may be accused of responsibility for such violations [of convention rights, our add.] being held immune from legal responsibility” – and further, that “the problem of impunity for these violations, a matter of sustained concern by the Committee, may well be an important contributing element in the recurrence of the violations.”11
In this context DACoRD would respectfully distance itself from the effort by the Government in these cases to justify the ineffectiveness of the investigation to give freedom of expression a special status as one of the core human rights in the Conventions and a necessity in a democracy, stating that it must be considered incompatible with the founding principles if the human rights conventions were to be interpreted as imposing a positive duty of action on the State to intervene in a debate on a current topic. DACoRD objects to this characterization of freedom of expression, however important that right is. Freedom of expression does not have a higher ranking among Convention rights or compared to other human rights. Freedom of expression is not listed as a non-derogable right under Article 4.2 of the ICCPR. – and in the opinion of DACoRD such listing is more of a practical nature, than it is an expression of a higher quality or level of importance of certain human rights. Human rights are not hierarchical, but equal, interdependent and indivisible.12 If anything, freedom from discrimination and self-determination stands out as special among the Covenant rights as jus cogens under international law. The positive duty of States is to implement and give effect to all protected rights.
As a third general point, DACoRD refers back to the General Comment No. 31 of the HRC, above, on the problem of impunity as a source of recurrence of violations, and the case of Gelle v. Denmark, CERD No. 34/2004, cited above in para 27. In the Gelle case the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in its decision of 6 March 2006 recommended that the petitioner should be granted compensation for moral injury and that existing legislation is effectively applied so that similar violations do not occur in the future. This did not happen, however. The statements in the case were subsequently repeated and formed the basis for new
11 During the preparation of the present comments to CERD, it was made known through the press that the Director of Public prosecutions had decided to ask Parliament to lift the Parliamentary immunity of Jesper Langballe MP for the Danish Popular Party, in order to bring charges against Mr. Langballe under Section 266b of the Criminal Code for statements in the newspaper Berlingske Tidende on 13 Jan. 2010. A decision to that effect was taken by Parliament on 16 June 2010. As representative for the complainant DACoRD was not informed by the Prosecution authority. It is not clear why the Director of Public Prosecution have opted to bring this case, but refused all other cases for nearly a decade, but it may be noted that Mr. Langballe is an outgoing MP, who will not stand for reelection at the next general election. At the time of final court decision Mr. Langballe will be former MP like Mr. Glistrup and of approximately same age. Mr. Langballe voted himself for lifting his immunity, and it can be expected that the defense will try to make the case a show piece in the efforts of the Popular Party to have Section 266 b abolished.
In a related development, On June 29, 2010 The Director of Public Prosecution decided to drop charges against Mr. Søren Krarup, MP for the Danish Popular Party for similar statements equally in support of Lars Hedegaard on generalized statements on sexual abuse of young girls in Muslim families. In a newspaper article Mr. Krarup was quoted for saying that Mr. Hedegaard ”was absolutely correct” and that the public indignation was only due to the ignorance of journalists. In a police interview, Mr. Krarup subsequently explained, that he did not know at the time what Mr. Hedegaard had said. The Director for public prosecution decided to stop further prosecution, as the “evidence was not fully sufficient” to prove, that Mr. Krarup had violated Section 266B of the Penal Code. The Director reasoned that it could not be proven, that Mr. Krarup was familiar with the precise content of Mr. Hedegaards statements.
12 Cf. Th. Meron, On a hierarchy of International Human Rights, 80 Am. J.Int.L 1 (1986).