Greenland to take over local courts after self-governance referendum

Greenland to take over local courts after self-governance referendum

[JURIST] Greenlanders have voted [government press release; Politiken report] for increased autonomy from Denmark in a national referendum, according to results released Wednesday. The referendum's "Self Rule" plan gives Greenland [government website] natives control over the country's courts [government backgrounder], police, and coast guard, and recognizes Greenlandic as the island's official language. The plan also gives the country more control over its oil reserves and a larger share of their proceeds. The referendum was non-binding, but was supported by the Danish Parliament [official website], which has said it will implement the changes on June 21, 2009. More than 75 percent of voters favored increased autonomy and 72 percent of the country's eligible voters participated in the referendum.

Polling before the vote predicted [survey report, DOC, in Danish] the referendum's passage, but by a smaller margin. Many Greenlanders are pushing for control of the country's oil resources to be the first issue addressed after the changes take effect, but others have called for the country to first seek official recognition [Sermitsaik reports] from the UN.