The Oslo Bomb Attack and Shooting on Utøya in July 2011

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Friday, the 22 July 2011 indelibly marked an onset of serious reconsideration of the nature of terrorism in Europe. On that day "a bomb exploded in the Government District in Oslo. The explosion resulted in eight persons being killed and nine seriously injured... Later the same day... a massacre started on Utøya in Hole Municipality. At the time, 564 persons were on the island, 530 of whom were youth attending the Norwegian Labour Youth (AUF) summer camp. This afternoon, altogether 69 persons were killed. Most were killed by shooting or as a consequence thereof. Furthermore, 33 youngsters were injured..." This appalling atrocity was perpetrated by a young Norwegian, Anders Behring Breivik, who was pronounced guilty by the Oslo District Court in August 2012.
Here, we are to debate the attributes that Breivik's act possesses in terms of the terrorism narrative. That means it is necessary to consider how the perpetration was labelled by the court and whether the institution's frame of reference bears relevance to the way terrorism is commonly defined. As there has been an apparent failure to accept an official definition of terrorism , this essay will employ the reasoning based on Schmid's Revised Academic Consensus Definition of Terrorism .
In her verdict the judge states that the defendant is responsible for committing acts of terrorism:" [the defendant is therefore sentenced] for having committed a terrorist act in violation of section 148 of the Penal Code..." . The verdict exactly uses a term terrorist act and aims to provide substantive arguments supporting its interpretation. With respect to the court's wording, it indeed becomes clear that the jury deems Breivik's act to be terrorism, but what about the twelve definition c...

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...r institutions prior the attacks, his act was of a single nature; element 7 - it remains questionable whether Breivik had intended the people he killed to be his ultimate target or not, the people were both innocent civilians as well as the representatives of shared political values he condemned; eventually, element 12 - apparently Breivik's act was not a part of some extensive campaign, but rather an isolated act of politically fuelled violence.

[6] Schmid (2011), p. 86

[7] Ibid., p. 87

[8] Judgment of Anders Behring Breivik 2012-08-24

[9] Schmid (2011), p.

[10] Judgment of Anders Behring Breivik 2012-08-24

[11] McCauley, C. and Moskalenko, S. (2008) Mechanisms of Political Radicalization: Pathways Toward Terrorism, Terrorism and Political Violence, 20:3, pp. 415-433. Available through: [Accessed 20 January 2014]

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