Vi Har Brug for et Permanent Uvildigt Juridisk orgen

Vi Har Brug for et Permanent Uvildigt Juridisk orgen

17 Jan 2021
Statement - uvildigt juridisk organ

Danish Democracy Needs a Permanent Independent Legal Body

The Støjberg-case clearly demonstrates that Denmark needs a permanent independent legal body to ensure rule of law!

In the end, the final decision of whether to impeach Inger Støjberg lies with a majority of the Danish Parliament. That is, Parliament could have chosen to ignore the Instruction Commission, ignore the impartial legal assessment and ignore public opinion. Parliament could have said no and 9 members of the Liberal Party's parliamentary group did actually - just as leading figures in the national conservative parties Nye Borgerlige and Dansk Folkeparti publicly supported Støjberg. Not for legal or other legal reasons bound in an actual doubt of guilt, but due to political beliefs and ideology.

So imagine if a majority in parliament had rejected impeachment?

Even on the day when the Folketing voted in the Supreme Court case, the former Minister of Education and current President of the Nordic Council, Bertel Haarder, regretted that Inger Støjberg had not just apologized. Let's not forget that he and Inger are both from the same party.

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“Had she only made a timely apology.”

But would an apology have altered the fact that she knowingly deceived Parliament and misled our elected representatives, knowing that what she was doing was against the law? Would a drug or a case of theft become less illegal if only the perpetrator had apologised in time? No.

So it is perhaps not so surprising that many Danes breathed a sigh of relief when the Social Democrats and the Liberal Party finally voted in favor and the Impeachment was confirmed and its cause be tried.

But it could very well have gone differently.
Political colleagues across parties and political standpoints could for various strategic or personal reasons protect Støjberg and avoid an impeachment at all costs by voting against. Despite the fact that every independent legal body has confirmed the basis for a trial.
In the worst case scenario, the majority could have become a majority dictatorship, disabled rule of law and thus equated Denmark with a banana republic or the USA, where Trump continues to dodge his responsibility because Republicans refuse to realise the mistake of having elected him back in 2016. 

The term Constitutional Court has been mentioned by some Danish parties, like Alternativet, but the proposal carries little power as Denmark does not have a constitution in the known sense of the word.

We in Volt Danmark therefore proposes the establishment of a Permanent Independent Legal Body, which acts in parallel with the offices of the individual ministries to ensure that our elected ministers comply with the law.

The Commission has shown that this solution is possible and the Mink case has shown that it is necessary. This ensures that the generalists of the civil service can consult externally and can resist if a powerful demagogue is elected.

The creation of such a body is needed as no one is above the law - and certainly not during a crisis! 

Kathrine Richter & Alexander Nielsen
Co-Presidents, Volt Danmark