Udtalelse fra Europarådets menneskerettighedskommissæren om forvaring i Danmark

  Council of Europe, Commissioner for Human Rights

Strasbourg, 11 July 2007

Original version

Memorandum to the Danish Government
Assessment of the progress made
in implementing the 2004 recommendations of
the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights
For the attention of the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly


"... Security detention of indeterminate duration and "medical castration" (anti-hormone therapy)

53. In the 2004 report the Commissioner flagged his concern that a prison sentence of indeterminate duration as established under the Danish law ("safe custody" under Article 72 of the Danish Penal Code) confounded the principle of legal certainty and he considered it of paramount importance that judicial review of such a sentence is available at reasonable intervals from the very outset. The Commissioner was informed that the way decisions of "safe custody" were handled and reviewed in Denmark indicated great caution and restraint on behalf of all the authorities involved.
54. The Commissioner was also informed of the use of the so-called "medical castration" of sex offenders held in safe custody, all of them at the Herstedvester Prison. Although this treatment was administered on a voluntary basis, the Commissioner was concerned by the pressure put on the detainee to accept it, since the treatment

was almost always a precondition for release on parole. The Commissioner believed it essential that the detainees were able to make an informed and free decision on the treatment and that its long-term side-effects were carefully studied.

55. The delegation was informed that at the time of its visit 33 detainees were kept in safe custody. These detainees were very serious offenders, including sexual offenders, and their dangerousness was assessed by a panel of experts including psychiatrists on the basis of which judges decide on whether or not to order or extend safe custody. Officials met by the delegation conceded, however, that for a detainee to be imprisoned without any time limit under the regime of "safe custody" does pose major problems for his or her mental health and behaviour and, by way of consequence, for the modalities of the detention itself.
56. Regarding the anti-hormone therapy as a way to put an end to or to avoid safe custody to sex offenders, a visit to the prison at Herstedvester gave the delegation a chance to learn about the results obtained so far in Denmark. These are encouraging: Since the mid-1990's according to data gathered by the Department of Prisons and Probation no single case of reoccurrence of sexual crime has been registered for offenders who were released on parole on condition to continue the medical castration treatment. As regards informed consent by the prisoner and the possibility to stop the treatment, it was underlined by the delegation's interlocutors that the various safeguards called for by the Commissioner in 2004 are being scrupulously granted.
57. The Commissioner welcomes the information he received from his delegation on the good conditions at the Herstedvester prison and on the encouraging results of anti-hormone therapy when practiced with numerous, strict safeguards. As concerns safe custody, the Commissioner reiterates his predecessor's concerns of principle and the absolute requirement that judicial review of such decision be carried out at short intervals on the basis of thorough expert reports and contradictory examination. ...."

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