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Research Paper

The Anders Behring Breivik Trial: Performing Justice, Defending Democracy

On 24 August 2012, the judges of the Oslo District Court passed their final verdict in the case of Anders Behring Breivik, declaring Breivik criminally sane and legally responsible for the killing of 77 people during the bombing of government buildings in Oslo and the shooting spree on the island of Utøya on 22 July 2011. This Research Paper examines to what extent the Breivik trial attained the goals of criminal justice: retribution, prevention, restoring democratic order and upholding the rule of law.  Furthermore, it aims to determine if the trial contributed to the need for closure in society. The Research Paper concludes that the trial did indeed have a positive impact on the coping mechanisms in Norwegian society and that most Norwegians viewed the trial as a positive counter-weight to the brutality of Breivik’s acts. Overall, the trial was viewed as an example of justice and as a trial that upheld the democratic values of Norwegian society – in stark contrast to Breivik’s values.

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How to cite: De Graaf, B., Van der Heide, L., Wanmaker, S. and D. Weggemans. "The Anders Behring Breivik Trial: Performing Justice, Defending Democracy". The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism - The Hague 4, no. 6 (2013).