Penalty for jihadist in Syria – Jurisdiction

Supreme Court judgment 26 June 2020, HR-2020-1340-A, (case no. 20-024314STR-HRET), criminal case, appeal against judgment. 

I.
A (Counsel Mads Andenæs) v. The Public Prosecution Authority (Counsel Frederik G. Ranke)

II.
The Public Prosecution Authority (Counsel Frederik G. Ranke) v. A (Counsel Mads Andenæs)

Justices: Matningsdal, Matheson, Bull, Ringnes, Høgetveit Berg

A stateless Palestinian who was in custody on remand in Norway, had participated in the terrorist organisation Al Nusra in Syria. He was convicted in the Supreme Court of participation in a terrorist organisation, see section 147 d of the Penal Code 1902 and section 136 a, cf. section 5 subsection 3 of the Penal Code 2005, and for having prepared terrorist acts, see section 133 subsection 1, cf. section 5 subsection 3 of the Penal Code 2005. As for the question of any limitations under international law on the possibility for Norway to punish acts committed abroad by a foreign national – so-called universal jurisdiction – the Supreme Court found, unlike the Court of Appeal, that the provisions on Norwegian territorial application is based on the clear premise that universal jurisdiction is permitted under international law. Then, it is not incompatible with international law to apply the provisions in the Penal Code on terrorist offences to foreign nationals' acts abroad as long as section 5 subsection 3 permits it and no limitations on the right to universal jurisdiction are demonstrated in specific rules in international law. A sentence of 11 years and 6 months of imprisonment was imposed. The starting point was 14 years of imprisonment, which was reduced because the convicted person's own asylum statement had been crucial for the case being uncovered. His statements had also facilitated the investigation to some extent.

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