The test

I hear on the news that Edward Snowden is taking my country to court, or rather, he is asking the judiciary of my country to consider what his rights would be as a visitor to Norway.

I find the question fair and timely. Much as I keep insisting that the rule of law is, by and large, taken very seriously here, I fear that Norway’s NATO membership entails some unpleasant obligations, between friends, as it were.

Forcing the judiciary to consider his legal rights before he takes the chance of coming here, Edward Snowden has acted wisely. The judiciary is supposedly independent of the executive powers. Now its independence will be put to the test.

From a statutory perspective, the case is pretty clear pursuant to section 5 of the Extradition Act: No extradition for political offences. Political offences are primarily defined as acts targeting a state and its organisation [“samfunnsordning”], whereas prosecution for war crimes and “serious” terrorist acts are not exempt from extradition.

However, as we all know, a court can easily turn into a hockey field if the players are sufficiently insolent. And on a hockey field almost anything goes, I’ve been told. I beg pardon if I am insulting anybody.