Breivik’s judge seeks High Court post

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Oslo City Court Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen, who won widespread praise for her handling of the lengthy and difficult lawsuit against mass murderer Ander Behring Breivik, has emerged as one of 12 applicants for a spot on Norway’s Supreme Court (Høyesterett).

Oslo Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen posed many questions to the court-appointed psychiatrists who have been widely criticized for diagnosing terror defendant Anders Behring Breivik as insane. It was unclear whether she was satisfied with their answers. PHOTO: NRK screen grab/Views and News

Oslo Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen presided over one of the most traumatic and lengthy trials in Norwegian history. Now she has her eye on a post as a Supreme Court justice. PHOTO: NRK screen grab/newsinenglish.no

Arntzen, age 54, presided over the trial that ran for several months in 2012. It started less than a year after Breivik bombed Norway’s government headquarters on July 22, 2011 and then proceeded to gun down scores of mostly young Labour Party members at the party’s summer camp on the island of Utøya. Breivik, an avowed ultra right-wing terrorist, claimed he was trying to save Norway from more immigration allowed by the party.

Arntzen’s firm, no-nonsense approach as lead judge in the Breivik case won the respect of both the prosecution and the defense, and the confidence of the hundreds of survivors of the attack and families of the victims. Now she’s among the 12 persons applying for seats on Norway’s highest court and one of only six who didn’t request that her application be kept confidential. Other identified applicants include Trond Eilertsen and Marius Gisvold, both lawyers and partners in Oslo law firm Wikborg Rein, and Anders Folkman, a lawyer in his own practice.

Arntzen isn’t the only figure from the Breivik case who seems poised for a new job. Inga Bejer Engh, who was co-prosecutor during the terrorist’s trial, has been tapped to be one of four new judges on the Oslo City Court, reported newspaper Aftenposten last week. Engh wouldn’t comment until the appointment becomes final at an upcoming Council of State. Engh’s co-counsel for the prosecution, Svein Holden, has gone into private practice.

newsinenglish.no staff