Tragedy in Norway and the Legal Process

The tragedy in Norway occurred just days after I was fortunate to visit Oslo—a normally peaceful city where one of the main attactions for visitors is City Hall, the site of the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony. These horrific events have now brought Oslo and the Norwegian Legal Process into the forefront of international attention. 

According to an article in The Telegraph, admitted shooter and bomber Anders Behring will have a detention hearing before a District Court judge (held today, in closed session).  He will later be examined by doctors to assess his mental fitness to stand trial. The article cites unamed legal experts who say that a trial is likely to occur in about a year.

Behring has been charged under Norway’s anti-terriorism laws. Currently, Norwegian law provides for a maximum prison term of  21 years and there is no death penalty. However, according to a law professor at the University of Oslo, jail terms are renewable for 5 years if the court determines there is a risk of repeat offenses. The Norwegian Parliament has decided to raise the maximum prison term for terriorism to 30 years, but the law is not yet in effect.

The Norwegian courts have a useful website, available in English, that explains Norway’s judicial system. An unofficial English translation of the Norwegian Penal Code is available here.  Additional resources include the Law Library of Congress Norwegian Law research guide and the Foreign Law Guide database available to the GMUSL community.