By Nina Berglund
“...There is no question about Breivik’s guilt. Not only has he admitted to the attacks, he’s said he would strike again if given a chance. Why give him such a platform to describe what he did in all its chilling detail, and spread the right-wing extremist ideology that he claims motivated his attacks?
Because Norwegian authorities are bound and determined to accord Breivik the same local brand of justice as any other criminal defendant in the country. The trial itself seems to be both an expression of Norwegian civility and a form of national catharsis, however painful that might be.
The trial has received widespread international coverage and judging from online comments on the case, many persons outside Norway are surprised, even disgusted, that Breivik has been treated with such civility and respect in the courtroom. Some were shocked that all members of the prosecution, and not least the court-appointed psychiatrists who must evaluate Breivik’s mental state, shook hands with Breivik on the trial’s opening day.
That’s simply the custom in Norway, along with relatively [short] prison terms and an emphasis on criminal rehabilitation, as opposed to pure punishment. That’s under some pressure now, but it’s worth noting that even during some of Breivik’s most horrific testimony about his ‘executions,’ there were no emotional outbursts among Norwegians in the courtroom.”