martes, 21 de abril de 2020

The Oslo double Attack

Columnist Alejandro Díaz Castro.
Profesional en Relaciones Internacionales y Ciencia Política
Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano, Bogotá D.C.

(Ver otras publicaciones del autor)

Abstract: This essay will discuss the Oslo Bomb Attack and Shooting on Utoya in July 2011, to answer two main questions; the first one, what was the verdict. Were the terms ‘terrorist’ and ‘terrorism’ used about the perpetrator and the incident?, and the second one, should this incident be labeled as terrorism, taking in account the Academic Consensus Definition of terrorism by Alex Schmid? To clarify this, the essay will be written in chronological order; firstly, an introduction about the topic will be done by explaining the details and studying the terrorism definition created by Alex Schmid. Afterward, the questions will be answered based on previous explanations. To end with a conclusion. | Key Words: Terrorism, Oslo Bomb, Terrorist.


The Oslo Bomb Attack was developed on July 22nd, 2011 at 15:26 were 8 people resulted killed and 30 people were hurt, the second incident - The shooting on Utoya- was the same day a few hours later. Resulting in 69 people killed and 66 people injured to have a total of 77 people dead and 96 injured in one day with 2 different attacks.

The perpetrated was Anders Breivik, a 30 years old man who was captured meanwhile he was shooting young people on Utoya island. His reasons, according to his manifesto called “European Declaration of Independence” which contains 1500 pages and was published the same day of the incidents. He extremely disagrees with the government and the Norwegian Labour Party for supporting the multicultural society which includes the Islamic Religion and Marxist ideas. That is the reason why the bomb was located nearby the prime minister’s office, and the shooting was on Utoya where was located at the Labour party youth camp.

Now that the reasons which took Breivik to do what he did and how the attacks were developed are cleared, it is important to study the definition of terrorism that is provided by Alex Schmid and is generally accepted by many organizations and academics to be able to answer one of the principal questions of this essay:

"Terrorism is an anxiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action, employed by (semi-) clandestine individual, group or state actors, for idiosyncratic, criminal or political reasons, whereby - in contrast to assassination - the direct targets of violence are not the main targets. The immediate human victims of violence are generally chosen randomly (targets of opportunity) or selectively (representative or symbolic targets) from a target population, and serve as message generators. Threat- and violence-based communication processes between terrorist (organization), (imperiled) victims, and main targets are used to manipulate the main target (audience(s)), turning it into a target of terror, a target of demands, or a target of attention, depending on whether intimidation, coercion, or propaganda is primarily sought".

The Schmid definition covers some patterns which explain why Breivik’s acts were considered as a terrorist attack, the first one was due to the idiosyncratic. He believed that people who practice the Islamic Religion and Marxist ideas should not be allowed to enter Norway. Secondly, and it is linked with the previous one, Breivik did not like the government at that time since in his trial he said that his original plan was to kill all the government members including the prime minister.

Furthermore, the human victims were symbolic targets because 69 people who were killed were a member of the Norwegian Labour Party. He was not interested in a confrontation with the police. That was the reason why as soon as the police arrived he turned himself in, having bullets and weapons to continue fighting again the officers. Showing in that way that his objective was to create attention in his message.

The previous reasons were enough to condemn him for the charges of terrorism, and the terrorist attacks on July 22 to 21 years of prison. Some people were trying to change the charges for crimes against humanity in that way he would have had a severe condemn; however, it was not possible. Nevertheless, after finishing the 21 years the government can extend 5 years more if it is considered that he would be a risk for society.


To sum up, it can be said that Breivik was considered and judge as a terrorist due to conceive his acts as terrorist attacks. His actions, moreover, match perfectly with Schmid's definition of terrorism. Avoiding in that way that Breivik was judged for crimes against humanity and having just 21 years of prison instead of 30 if he would have been judged for the second crime mentioned.


1. Susana Mena Autrilla, 2017 “Anders Breivik un crimen por convicción Política”. URL

2. Schmid and Jongman (1988)

3. “El pais” News papper, 2011. URL:

4. “Gran atentado de Oslo” Centro de Analisis y perspectiva, 2013. URL:

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