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Norway: Crime Victims’ Compensation to Be Increased After July 2011 Massacre

(Mar. 1, 2012) It was reported on December 8, 2011, that the Storting (Norway's Parliament) will increase the amount of compensation given to victims of violent crime as well as the number of victims eligible for such compensation. The increase was suggested in the aftermath of the July 22, 2011, massacre of 77 persons, by the suspect Anders Behring Breivik (who has admitted to the killings but pleaded not guilty), in Oslo's government district and on the nearby island of Utøya. (Increased Crime Victim Compensation, THE NORWAY POST (Dec. 8, 2011); Saying He Deserves a Medal, Norway Mass Shooting Suspect Stays Jailed, CNN (Feb. 7, 2012).)

The Standing Justice Committee of the Storting, in concert with the country's Ministry of Justice (called the Ministry of Justice and Emergency Planning as of January 1, 2012), decided on a sum of NOK4.75 million (about US$853,800) as the upper limit of the amount of compensation for which a single individual should be eligible. The current maximum compensation is NOK3.1 million (about US$557,200). Not only the victims of the July 2011 massacre, but all other victims of violent crime would be eligible for reimbursement. (Increased Crime Victim Compensation, supra; Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Emergency Planning, GOVERNMENT.NO (last visited Feb. 27, 2012).)

Maximum and minimum compensation amounts are set forth under section 11 of the Compensation for Victims of Violent Crime Act; the maximum amount is at present 40 times the national insurance basic amount laid down in the National Insurance Act. (LOV 2001-04-20 nr 13: Lov om erstatning fra staten for personskade voldt vedstraffbar handling m.m. (Voldsoffererstatningsloven) [Act 2001-0420 No. 13: Act on Compensation from the State for Personal Injury Caused by an Offense, etc. (Compensation for Victims of Violent Crime Act)] (in force on July 1, 2001, as amended), LOVDATA,; available in English translation, but not up-to-date with amendments, as The Compensation for Victims of Violent Crime Act, Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority website (last visited Feb. 27, 2012).)

Lawyers and representatives of a national support group formed after the July 2011 attacks had demanded that the Ministry of Justice increase the maximum payment “because so many of the victims are young people,” and had also suggested that NOK25 million (about US$4.5 million) be allocated to the Norwegian Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and another NOK5 million to the Norwegian Civil Affairs Authority. (Increased Crime Victim Compensation, supra.)

The Storting reportedly set aside NOK185 million (about US$33.3 million) in the 2012 state budget to cover compensation for the victims of the terror attacks. (Id.)

Although Minster of Justice Grete Faremo had hoped that the new plan could take effect on January 1, 2012, it seems that the measures are still under consideration by the Storting. (Id.) On January 17, 2012, the Standing Justice Committee issued recommendations on a proposal from some Storting members on changes in the Compensation for Victims of Violent Crime Act and the establishment of victim care measures. (Recommendation from the Justice Committee on Representative Proposals from Members of Parliament Per Sandberg, Hans Frode Kielland Asmyhr, Annie Michaelsen, and Morten Johansen Ørsal on Changes in the Compensation for Victims of Violent Crime Act and the Establishment of Victim-Care, Innst. 150 S (2011-2012) [in Norwegian] Kildedok: Dokument 8:156 S (2010–2011) (Jan. 12, 2012, Dato: 17.01.2012).)

The day before, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority had issued a response to the Ministry of Justice consultation paper, put forth on December 7, 2011, that had proposed amendments to the Compensation for Victims of Violent Crime Act and the Criminal Procedure Act. (Høyringsuttaling frå Kontoret for valdsoffererstatning (Jan. 17, 2012), Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority website.)