Breivik will take his case to Strasbourg

Anders Behring BreivikAnders Behring Breivik.Photo: Lise Åserud / NTB scanpix

Breivik disallowed appeal to the Supreme Court, but will proceed to Strasbourg

Anders Behring Breivik takes his human rights judgment to Strasbourg as the Supreme Court now rejects all parts of his appeal.

The decision of the appeal committee on Thursday means that the verdict of Borgarting Court of Appeal is upheld, and that the terrorist- massacre detainee has no opportunity for any new court proceedings in Norway.

Anders Behring Breivik, 38, and lawyer Øystein Storrvik have already started the process of presenting the case before the Strasbourg Human Rights Court.

“We are preparing to appeal the ruling of the Supreme Court as soon as possible to the European Court of Human Rights. We have always been preparing for this, “says Breivik’s defender Øystein Storrvik to NTB.

Borgarting Court of Appeals gave in March a verdict which meant a complete defeat for Breivik. The court concluded that neither the circumstances, the isolation nor the restrictions on the mass-murderer’s ability to communicate from the prison are contrary to human rights.

Breivik stated that the restrictions violate the prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment, as well as the right to privacy.

Will not succeed

As the reasons for refusing the appeal, the Supreme Court’s appeal committee writes that no part of it has the possibility to give any other outcome than that of the Court of Appeal – because the assessment of the evidence in Borgarting was correct in the opinion of the committee.

The Appeals Committee also believes there is no reason to question the way the court has interpreted the European Convention on Human Rights. Thus, there are no sides to the Breivik’s case which are unclear in Norwegian law.

Usually the appeal committee does not justify its refusal. In Thursday’s ruling, the reasoning behind the refusal largely justifies and interprets Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This article and article 8 on the right to privacy were the basis for Breivik’s complaint.

– From the State’s point of view we are very pleased with this justification. This makes the conclusion both more robust and easier to deal with when people wonder why the committee has not approved the case for appeal, “says Attorney General Fredrik Sejersted to NTB.

The survivors and relatives have been waiting for a new trial. Lisbeth Røyneland, who chairs the Support Group after July 22, says it’s a “huge relief” to let go.

“Now I hope it takes many, many years before we all hear from him again,” says Røyneland.

Strictest restrictions

Breivik went to court against the State because he felt the prison conditions are so severe that they brake his basic human rights. After partly winning in the District court, he lost on all points when the Court of Appeal handled the case this winter.
No other detention prisoner is subject to more stringent security regime than the Breivik zone , a wing with a particularly high level of security in Skien prison.

He has got three cells in the wing, but has no contact with the outside world other than with his lawyer and a visiting friend who talks with him weekly. In practice, he has not communicated from prison by letter.

Attorney Øystein Storrvik placed considerable emphasis on the isolation and the damaging effects it has. Although the appeal committee did not find that the isolation is “complete isolation” in the legal sense, and thus not in violation of the ECHR, Storrvik says to NTB that the appeal committee also establishes the severity of isolation over six years.

– This is further based on the complaint. I think it might be useful to review this externally. Breivik is still isolated, the situation ongoing and the entire Supreme Court’s ruling highlights the seriousness of such a long isolation period. We wish to try it for the Human Rights Court, “says Storrvik.

Normally it is very time consuming and very difficult to get cases dealt with in the Human Rights court. It is therefore far too early to speculate when the case will get its final verdict or to give any forecast about the outcome of a possible evaluation in Strasbourg.


© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today