This Decision shows the District Court of Oslo trying to reconcile its national criminal law provisions with the demands of international law. The Court had to consider whether the application of Norway’s 2005 Penal Code to acts committed in 1992-1995 would be unconstitutional for retrospectivity. The Court found that following its initial drafting, the relevant provision of the new Penal Code had been amended to allow retrospective application in relation to certain very grave international crimes, and subject to certain limitations: “The provisions in chapter 16 [that is, the war crime provisions] apply to acts committed before their entry into force if the act at the time of its commission was punishable under the criminal legislation in force at the time and considered to be genocide, a crime against humanity or a war crime according to international law.”
The Court concluded that Norway’s new provisions on war crime and in particular its prohibition of unlawful deprivation of liberty (the central charge in this case), protect interests that were already protected by its earlier Penal Code (1902) which was applicable at the time the crimes in this case were committed. The same could not be said of alleged ‘crimes against humanity’ as, “[a]t the time the acts were committed (1992) Norway did not have any legal provisions of a corresponding content or protecting such interests."
Awards ranging from 40,000-100,000 Norwegian Kroner were granted as compensation for non-pecuniary damage.