Court decides that regular co-judges be appointed in Breivik trial
The Oslo District Court (Tingrett) announced in a press release Thursday that it has decided that three regular co-judges (lekdommere) from Oslo will be appointed for the upcoming trial against Anders Behring Breivik.
In Norway, co-judges are elected by the commune or city council for a period of four years. A 2002 govermental review of the co-judge system (“‘Dømmes av likemenn’: Lekdommere i norske domstoler” – “‘Judged by peers’: Co-Judges in Norwegian Courts”) documented that co-judges are not representative of the population at large, and concluded that in most cases co-judges do not represent the accused’s peers. For example, almost half of all the co-judges held positions in political parties while serving as co-judges and only one-third of co-judges have never held a position in a political party. The assignment of a co-judge to a particular case is supposed to be decided randomly.
One of the plaintiff’s lawyers, Halldis Winje, requested in January that regular co-judges not be used, but instead suggested that the court appoint co-judges with professional expertise in psychiatry. The court rejected that proposal, pointing out that four court-appointed psychiatrists have already been appointed and will be present during the main trial proceedings.
The only time someone accused of a crime in Norway is entitled to a trial by jury (with regular citizens selected at random as members of the jury) is at the intermediate or appellate court level, the lagmannsrett.
The Oslo District Court (Tingrett) will decide next week who will act as co-judges in the Breivik trial.
Next week will be withheld from the three persons to be lay judges in the trial of Behring Anders Breivik.
The Oslo District Court said in a statement Thursday afternoon….
Lay judges are elected, elected by the municipal or city council, and the term is four years. Courts Act stipulates certain requirements for who can be elected lay judges:
Among other things, you must be 21 years and under 70 years of age, be entitled to vote and be eligible for election to the council. You must be a Norwegian or Nordic citizen or have been introduced in the Norwegian Population Register as resident in Norway for the last three years. There is also a condition that you speak and understand Norwegian. Furthermore, there are requirements to lay judges obeying the law….
Original article: Tre vanlige Oslo-borgere skal være med på å dømme Breivik
2002 governmental review (in Norwegian): “Dømmes av likemenn” Lekdommere i norske domstoler