Live After Quit

Breivik’s Battlefield: Norway in Legal Showdown with Mass Killer

On Monday, the lawyer of mass killer Anders Breivik announced the launch of a lawsuit against the Norwegian government in which he claims to be unlawfully held in isolation in prison. Breivik, who in 2011 committed horrific acts of violence in Norway — resulting in the deaths of 77 people — was sentenced to prison indefinitely in 2013. Since the itinerary of his detainment, Breivik has been in solitary confinement in the prison throughout the duration of his sentence. The lawsuit has been filed due to Breivik’s lawyers arguing that the strict confinement amounts to a violation of both the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) as well as the Norwegian Constitution. The devasting nature of Breivik’s acts of terrorism cannot be ignored, however, due to the severity of his case the matter of isolation has raised questions amongst the citizenry of Norway. The suit is largely based upon Article 3 of the ECHR, which protects individuals from “Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”, however the human rights of the accused must remain an integral part of any legal system. Breivik has additionally panned Norway for not providing improvement programs for inmates, which according to his lawyer has lead to an increasingly severe form of punishment. Despite the arguments presented by his lawyer, the fact remains that Breivik’s crimes were of a violent nature, which subsequently cause him to be given one of the strongest sentences a criminal could receive in Norway. His lawyers remain confident that the lawsuit will be successful and monitor the situation with an eager eye. Whatever the eventual outcome of the lawsuit may be, it does raise the question of what level of punishment is adequate and applicable for a person such as Breivik. Though Breivik has not provided any sorrow for his actions, the complexities of justice system and human rights must remain a central consideration throughout the entire process.