Sunday, 26 August 2012

Rights versus Justice ...

I am left in two minds after the Norwegian murderer Breivik was sentenced to 21 years in prison for the cold-blooded murder of 77 people, 69 of them teenagers or early 20s. OK, he disagreed with the politics they represented, but that does not confer a 'right' to kill them. So why do I have doubts over the 'justice' of his sentence?

In 21 years this man will be 'released under licence.' Yes, he will be in his late 50s and he will find it difficult to get a job or to lead a 'normal' life. But he has denied all life to his victims, and now we have the spectacle of him being assigned a specially 'adapted' cell - orginally three, now knocked into one 'apartment' larger than many young people can afford to rent - and it is equipped with every luxury, even his own private gym. The argument advanced by the lady governor of the prison is that "he is a human being, he has civil rights, and the state has a duty to take care of his health, welfare and mental state."

Once again, it seems, the "rights" of a criminal are trumping the "right' of the victims and the bereaved to see justice done. Simply depriving him of his liberty is not sufficient punishment. He does not regret his actions, he's proud of them. He 'apologised' for not killing more, and now, at huge expense, he can be sure he will not have to face the realities of the victims or their families. He will be protected from his fellow prisoners who might be tempted to teach him some manners. Even in old age he will not face the difficulties faced by ordinary pensioners, whose pensions will now, no doubt, be held in check to help pay for this murderers comfort, care and protection.

I do not believe justice has been done here. It has certainly not been seen to be done. Is it any wonder so many victims of crimes all across the western democracies feel they cannot rely on justice? I think the concern for the "rights' of criminals, and that is all Breivik is, has gone far too far. Justice MUST be seen to be done and in this case, I note with interest, many of the victims families feel aggrieved and let down by the treatment this monster looks forward to.


  1. It must be noted that today the Monk is in Old Testament mode.

    Not that that is a bad thing, while, as with so many things relating to freedom, the US does it very, very badly, I am somewhat in favour of prisoners working off their debt to society through meaningful labour. The "hard labour" of the old British system was meaningless, however, there are many simple, menial tasks that require doing but cannot be funded; could I suggest for one, maintaining street furniture and road signs, so many are in poor repair or obscured by vegetation, but local authorities cannot justify the cost of maintenance.

    Alternatively, the paralimpian archers require targets!

    1. Slim Jim replies:

      And once they have 'maintained' the aforementioned street furniture, they should carry out a weight stress test by suspending themselves from a large noosed rope. By their necks, of course.

  2. Slim Jim says:
    I understand that the Norwegians can keep him banged up until he dies if they consider him to be a risk to society. I really don't know why the Norwegian armed polis didn't empty a magazine into him. As for Old Testament - the bastard should be burned at the stake! The right to a summary execution. It could work.