Thule Air Base Traffic Offence Case

JurisdictionDinamarca
CourtEastern Provincial Court (Denmark)
Date20 October 1981
Denmark, Eastern Provincial Court.
Thule Air Base Traffic Offence Case

Jurisdiction Foreign armed forces NATO military bases in Greenland Legal status Danish nationals living and working on bases Traffic offences Whether subject to jurisdiction of Danish courts Agreement between Governments of United States of America and Denmark concerning Defence of Greenland, 1951 Articles II and VIII Defence areas

States Constituent territories Self-governing province Greenland Whether Danish law applicable The law of Denmark

Summary: The facts:The accused, a Danish national, was charged with driving a United States Air Force bus on the Thule Air Base in Greenland while the alcohol level in his blood exceeded the permissible limit. He argued that the Danish courts had no jurisdiction over the alleged offence because neither Danish nor Greenland traffic legislation applied within the area of the base, where United States traffic rules were observed and only military vehicles were in use. The base was a defence area established under the Agreement (concluded pursuant to the nato Treaty, 1949) between the Governments of the United States of America and Denmark concerning the Defence of Greenland of 27 April 1951. The accused was convicted by the Court of first instance and appealed. The Ministry for Greenland certified that Danish citizens living in Danish/United States defence areas in Greenland, established under the terms of the Defence Agreement 1951, were subject to Danish jurisdiction in accordance with Articles II and VIII of the Agreement.

Held:The appeal was dismissed.

As a Danish citizen living in Thule, the accused was subject to Danish jurisdiction in accordance with Article VIII of the Defence Agreement 1951. Danish traffic law was applicable to the circumstances of the case, where proceedings were instituted before the Danish courts in accordance with Section 4(c) of the Criminal Code of Greenland.

The text of the judgment of the Eastern Provincial Court commences on page 278. The following is the text of the statement of facts which precedes the text of the judgment of the Court:

From the appeal (16107/1981Public Prosecutor v. T) it appears that the twenty-five year old Danish national T was charged with the violation of Section 53(1) of the Danish traffic law on the basis of the following facts: On 25 May 1980, between approximately 11.30 p.m. and midnight, he was driving a United States Air Force bus on Thule Air Base, from barracks No 446 to J-Site...

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