Norway builds new courtroom for terror trial

Confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik will be tried in a new 25 million kroner ($4.3 million) courtroom, as Norway starts spending some of the 600 million kroner ($110 million) set aside for the terrorism trial in the 2012 budget.

Room for 204 people inside will be augmented by adjacent spaces for victims’ families and survivors of the July 22nd attacks on Utøya Island that killed 69 at a camp for Young Labour members. A press centre for 372journalists is also0 being rented at the nearby Bristol Hotel.

The 2,500-square-metre space comprises the entire second floor of Oslo District Court, the site of high-profile murder and armed robbery cases as well as civic marriage ceremonies. Breivik's trial begins on April 16th when he will face terrorism charges at what will by then be Norway’s largest courtroom.

The case is seen lasting 10 weeks without the civil suits anticipated from survivors and victims families.

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Kongsberg attacker killed victims with ‘sharp object’

Norwegian police said Monday that the five victims of last week's attack were killed by a "sharp object" used by the suspect, not a bow and arrows.

The Kongsberg attacker is said to have killed five people with sharp objects. Pictured is police tape from a separate incident.
The Kongsberg attacker is said to have killed five people with sharp objects. Pictured is police tape from a separate incident. Photo by Søren Storm Hansen on Flickr.

“At some point he discarded or lost his bow and arrows,” police inspector Per Thomas Omholt told reporters.

He said that during the attack on Wednesday the suspect killed “five people with a sharp object both in private addresses and in public spaces”.

Police, who had previously said that the suspect Espen Andersen Brathen was armed with a bow and arrows and two other weapons, did not specify the nature of the sharp weapons, adding that they were still interviewing witnesses.

“Everything points to the victims being selected at random,” Omholt said.

According to the police, more than 10 people were also shot at with arrows at the start of the attack, but none were killed with this weapon.

READ MORE: Norway police query Kongsberg attacker’s Muslim faith

During police questioning, Brathen has confessed to the killings and to wounding three others.

The 37-year-old Danish citizen has announced publicly that he is a convert to Islam and initially police reported that there had been fears of radicalisation.

He is however being kept in a medical facility pending a psychiatric evaluation, which is necessary to determine whether Brathen can be held legally responsible for his actions.

“As far as motive is concerned, illness remains the main hypothesis. And as far as conversion to Islam is concerned, this hypothesis is weakened,” Omholt added.

On Saturday, police announced the identities of the five victims, four women and one man: Andrea Meyer, 52, Hanne Merethe Englund, 56, Liv Berit Borge, 75, Gunnar Erling Sauve, 75 and Gun Marith Madsen, 78.