The Framework of Criminal Law
Legislation on Bias-motivated Violence
|Bias-motivated Violent Crimes as Specific Offenses||Bias as an Express General Aggravating Factor||Bias as an Aggravating Factor in Specific Common Crimes|
Bias Types Covered by Provisions on Aggravating Circumstances
|Race/National Origin/Ethnicity||Religion||Sexual Orientation||Gender||Disability||Other|
Bias as an Express General Aggravating Factor
The Criminal Code of Denmark contains provisions that expressly enable the racist or other bias motives of the offender to be taken into account by the courts as an aggravating circumstance when sentencing.
On March 16, 2004 the Danish Parliament adopted provisions on aggravating circumstances which entered into force on April 2, 2004. In particular, part (vi) of Section 81 of the Criminal Code states: “in determining the penalty it shall generally be considered as an aggravating circumstance [...] that the offense is based on others’ ethnic origin, faith, sexual orientation or the like.”
Although Danish criminal law provides a firm basis in combating violent hate crimes, nongovernmental organizations have reported a tendency among police to register cases of bias-motivated violence as common crimes. The European Network Against Racism’s 2008 annual shadow report on Denmark states that “while PET [ed. The Danish security police] is worried about the rise of extreme right wing activists and political violence, it has been non-professional in its registration of violence against minorities.” The report further quotes a specialist on political violence who claims that “PET does not look into individual cases to find out if violence has been racially motivated or not. Racial violence has low priority in the police and it has no qualified researchers in its staff.”
 Bashy Quraishy, “ENAR Shadow Report 2008: Racism in Denmark,” Ethnic Debate Forum–Copenhagen, page 25: http://cms.horus.be/files/99935/MediaArchive/national/Denmark%20-%20SR%202008.pdf.