If the suspect is not a Norwegian citizen, the NCIS will try to deport them to their country of origin. This may be done if that country can guarantee the suspect's legal rights. The country must able to safeguard the suspect's legal rights in practice.
Some Norwegian citizens travel abroad to take part in armed conflicts. War crimes may therefore be committed by Norwegians on foreign soil. Authorities in other countries can ask us to investigate cases which are otherwise not linked to Norway. They can also request that suspected war criminals be handed over for trial in their country of origin
War crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, acts of terrorism and torture are all international crimes. Examples of such crimes include murder, rape, slavery, unlawful detention, forced deportation, the mistreatment of prisoners of war or civilians, and the looting or unjustified destruction of property. War crimes also include the use of child soldiers, attacks on humanitarian aid providers and the use of banned methods and weapons of war.
International crimes concern the world community. In accordance with international law, punishing those who commit such crimes cannot be seen as a violation of another state's sovereignty. This applies even if the crimes have been committed by a foreign citizen in another country.
Investigating international crimes
The NCIS has a special unit, the Section for International Crimes (SIC), that investigates war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. The SIC is made up of police officers, lawyers, political scientists and NCIS administrative staff. They collect, process and use information on international crimes. This information could result in a suspect being brought to trial in Norway. The suspect could also be handed over to another country or international criminal court.
The SIC is the only agency in Norway authorised to investigate war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity which have been carried out outside Norway by someone now located in Norway. The SIC may also be asked to investigate other serious crimes committed by a non-Norwegian citizen outside Norway, if that person is now located in Norway.
Solving difficult cases
Some cases can be difficult and take a lot of time to investigate. The crime may have taken place several years before. The crime may also have taken place in a country that is still inaccessible because the fighting has not yet come to an end. The crime scene may be old or damaged. It may also be difficult to track down witnesses. In such cases, the NCIS relies heavily on the cooperation of the local authorities. This is particularly true if the other country's culture and legal system are unfamiliar to the Norwegian investigators.
Read more about international crimes
Genocide is often called "the crime of all crimes". Genocide may take place during armed conflicts or in times of peace.
Section 101 of the Norwegian Penal Code says the following about genocide:
"Any person is liable to punishment for genocide who with the intention of wholly or partly destroying a national, ethnic, racial or religious group
- kills one or more members of the group
- causes considerable harm to the body or health of one or more members of the group
- subjects one or more members of the group to living conditions that are intended to cause physical destruction of all or part of the group
- implements measures with respect to one or more members of the group that are intended to prevent births within the group, or
- forcibly transfers one or more children from the group to another group.
The penalty for genocide is imprisonment for a term not exceeding 30 years."
Unlike war crimes, crimes against humanity may be committed both during war and in peacetime. Wide-ranging or systematic attacks on a population group are also defined as crimes against humanity.
War crimes are serious violations of the rules of war and are committed during armed conflicts. The actions concerned may be perpetrated against active or wounded combatants, civilians or property in occupied areas.
If we are to deal with international crimes effectively, Norway's SIC must cooperate actively with other countries. Authorities in other countries may ask us to investigate cases not directly linked to Norway. They may also ask us to hand over their own citizens who are located in Norway and who are suspected of having committed war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide. Having signed a number of international agreements, Norway has a duty to punish certain actions.
- Various international conventions or agreements between countries specifically cover genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, torture and cruel and degrading treatment.
- The Geneva Conventions provide a set of internationally accepted rules for what can and cannot be done during an armed conflict. Serious violation of the rules of war has legal consequences. Countries must put those suspected of violating the rules on trial themselves or hand the suspect over to another country for prosecution.
- The International Criminal Court (ICC) can ask Norway to prosecute or hand over those suspected of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide. In such cases, the ICC can also ask Norway to issue arrest warrants, secure evidence through court hearings, carry out police interviews, hand over documents, investigate crime scenes, search premises and seize objects or other evidence.
In an emergency, call the police by dialling 112. Otherwise, you must contact your local police station to report a crime.