Oslo, Aug 24 (): Today, Friday a Norwegian court will deliver its verdict on Anders Behring Breivik, who detonated a bomb in central Oslo, killing eight people and wounding hundreds more, then drove to Utoya Island, where he shot and killed 69 participants in the Norwegian Labor Party’s youth camp, on July 22, 2011.
Breivik, 33, who claims he is sane, has refused to plead guilty and has sought to justify his attacks by saying they were necessary to stop the “Islamisation” of Norway.
The whole world is focused on whether the court will find Mr. Breivik guilty or criminally insane. The Breivik trial offers a new model for justice in cases of civilian mass murder and terrorism.
At the time of verdict, a glass partition will separate Breivik from relatives of victims in a courtroom custom-built for the trial. The proceedings will be filmed by remote-controlled cameras, which would send the images to courtrooms around Norway where other relatives will watch the hearing live.
After considering for two months, a five-judge panel in Oslo’s district court will decide whether to send the right-wing extremist to prison or a mental hospital.
If the judges conclude that Breivik was sane, he will be sent to prison. The maximum sentence in Norway is 21 years although that can be extended if he is viewed as a danger to society.
If the court finds him insane, Breivik will be ordered to undergo treatment at a closed psychiatric unit – most likely at the same high security prison where he is now.
At the opening of the trial Mr. Breivik was allowed to hold forth about his ideology, an amalgam of American right-wing propaganda and European anti-Muslim fascism and racism, for 73 minutes.
On the last day of the trial, after the summaries given by the prosecution and the defense, the court allowed five representatives of victims’ families and friends to express their loss.
Breivik needs to be looked at as a political terrorist, or as he himself calls, a “militant nationalist.” In latest years, courts around the world have preferred different ways to deal with cases involving mass murder and terrorism.