TEMPORARY STATEMENT REGARDING THE SUPREME COURT OF DENMARK'S RULING OF NOVEMBER 28TH, 2003 IN THE THULE CASE
THE THULE CASE WILL CONTINUE BEFORE THE INTERNATIONAL COURTS
The Supreme Court of Denmark has today upheld The Eastern High Court's ruling of August 20th 1999, in which the Thule tribe were awarded a compensation of DKK 500.000 and the individuals, who were moved on average were awarded a compensation of DKK 17.000.
The Supreme Court of Denmark has not upheld the Danish government's contention that the Thule tribe does not exist. The Supreme Court of Denmark has stated that the Thule tribe was justified in safeguarding their interests before the courts.
The Supreme Court of Denmark has also stated that it was an infringement of expropriation when the base was founded in 1951 and the forcible removal happened in 1953.
At the same time the Supreme Court of Denmark has (The ruling page 4) reproduced the Prime Minister's statement of December 2n°, 1999 which states that the removal was decided and carried out in a way and under such circumstances that involved a "serious inftingement and an unlawful act towards the people. "
Regardless of this the Supreme Court finds that the Thule tribe does not have the right to return to their settlement and territory, as the infringements in both 1951 and 1953 were an "expropriation that could happen without legislative authority". (The ruling page 23)
Furthermore the Supreme Court of Denmark finds that the infringements could happen without any documentation or other information about who decided, what was decided (including among other things the demarcation of the involved territory), and where this was decided.
Regardless of many years of inquires and courtly examinations etc., the Thule people and the rest of the population of Greenland and Denmark do not know anything about the above mentioned. Thereby the Supreme Court of Denmark has approved that even without legal authority and without identification of any concrete decision, one has been able to carry out this drastic infringement.
By upholding the Eastern High Court's ruling with the above mentioned reasons the Supreme Court has stated that the people of Greenland and the Thule tribe has a lesser legal protection than other Danish citizens in Denmark.
Such an understanding does not agree with the assurances that the Danish government gave the people of Greenland and the UN in the period from 1947 to 1954. Furthermore this is not in harmony with Denmark's international commitments such as these were in 1951 and 1953 and such as these commitments are today, where there among others is a commitment to stop continued infringements.
At this point in time the people of Thule, who were self-supporting, still lack their hunting and catching territory that is crucial for their existence and way of life. It is very regrettable that the Supreme Court has not fulfilled its duty in regards to ceasing the decisions of the colonial era.
Denmark and Greenland are covered by the European Convention of Humans Rights, which protects rights of property, among this rights of usage etc. to hunting areas and the right not to be exposed to demolition, bull-dozing and the burning of the citizens homes. The convention also protects against individuals, here the people of Thule, being given a lesser legal protection than other citizens, for example concerning claims of legal authority for expropriation.
The Thule case will now be brought before European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Before this court international and national rulings concerning the ascertainment of the protection of aboriginal people's rights can be invoked.
It is very unfortunate that the case hereby has not been able to find its final ruling before the Supreme Court of Denmark and therefore within the boundaries of Denmark and its territories. By continuing the case internationally it is secured that the final assessment will happen before a jurisdiction that is not a part of the Danish government.
Copenhagen, November 28`'', 2003
Uusaqqak Qujaukitsoq Christian Harlang