Victories against Norway in the ECHR

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Victories against Norway in the ECHR

Tue, 31/03/2009 - 15:56

Foreign readers are wondering who represented the Riis-family and who won their three cases against Norway in the European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg (ECHR), 2004, 2007 and 2008. [1]

Most people familiar to these cases know that I was the Riis-familie’s representative before the Court in Strasbourg. This question has nevertheless arose as a Legal500 lawyer, Ole Kristian Aabø-Evensen (under investigation for committing serious crimes), claims to have won at least one, maybe two of these cases, and hence has collected the economical outcome of the ECHR-judgement.

The Legal500 lawyer Aabø-Evensen has no reason to proclaim victories in Strasbourg. On the contrary he should be marked as the reason why we didn’t win on all accounts as he - as the Riis-family's representative in that particular case at that time - refused to complain against breaches of the Convention in the appeal of the so called Falkefjell-trial (Riis v Norway II). If he had opposed to the breaches of the Convention in the appeal, and the Supreme Court had rejected his complaints, we would have stood a chance to win on the rest of the accounts. This is clearly stated in the Court’s decision.

Further on a misleading introduction of the 2008-decision by the ECHR could give reasons to uncertainty regarding this matter 

To clear all doubts and misunderstandings regarding the representation of these cases, I will give the following statement:

It was Herman J Berge (me) that instigated the Riis-family to complain against intolerable Norwegian civil procedure (which still hasn’t changed despite these three important victories, see below); that prepared the cases before the ECHR; that filed the cases to the ECHR and that won the cases against Norway in the ECHR. Besides some €5.000 that I was rewarded for my first victory in 2004 I have been paid Zero for my work regarding these cases in the Court in Strasbourg. Instead of reimbursing me for my legal costs the three times defeated Minister of Justice, Knut Storberget, for some inexplicable reason paid the granted amount to the Legal500 lawyer Aabø-Evensen and the Riis-family.

No lawyer has been helping me or the Riis-family with the ECHR-cases. Prior to the filings of the first case that I won in 2004, I confirm that I got valuable help from a Norwegian judge inspiring and encouraging me to file the application.

The legal situation in Norway after my victories
On the request from Attorney General Mr. Bjørn Haug, Judge Nils B Hohle with the Court of Appeals replied on September 14 1978 that:

“I will be in the Court of Appeals in Oslo in the week of Oct. 2-6 and I will then be able to further assist in puncturing your friend’s[2] law suit.”

This correspondence between the Attorney General and a Norwegian judge, where they (basically; the Government and the Court) are discussing how to demolish a party and their case, more than indicates how bad the legal situation was in Norway in 1978. Both the Attorney General as well as this judge should have served years in prison for this criminal act,[3] but as the Norwegian aristocracy-system doesn’t allow complaints against such conducts no one will ever be able to stop them from continuing depriving ordinary people’s rights by methods few of you would believe could exist.

Almost 18 years had passed from the case was filed in 1986 till Riis had a binding decision from the Supreme Court in August 2003. The Minister of Justice, Knut Storberget, who by the way is a lawyer, stated through his Attorney General that a complaint against some 18 years of administration of a court case, should be considered as a manifestly ill-founded complaint. Considering a normal life expectancy of some 78 years this statement is lunacy. Amazed by such a judgment one has to ask; who has talked him out of his senses? ECHR agreed with my standing, stating:

"It thus lasted 17 years and five months for three levels of jurisdiction. In the view of the Court, the mere duration of the proceedings raises a serious issue under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.

In the light of the above, the Court finds that this complaint is not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 of the Convention."

Given the fact that the Norwegian Minister of Justice can’t see anything wrong in letting three court cases live their own lives unattended in his own jurisdiction for more than 55 years altogether, and that he even thinks that a complaint against almost two decades of administration each should be regarded as manifestly ill-founded, raises several serious questions about both his leadership as well as his ability to reason. No country will be considered serious when its Minister of Justice embodies thoughts that to such an extent are divided from the people he is to serve.

The situation has become even worse since 1978. After I won the first case against Norway, the Attorney General (Sven Ole Fagernæs)[4] on instructions from the Government as a retaliation issued a decree stating that the issuing authority (the Supervisory Council for Legal Practice) without any sound reason was never to grant Herman J Berge (me) authorisation as a lawyer. See this article as documentation (sorry, only in Norwegian at the moment). As documented Judge Amundsen verified in writing to me that a conversation between the Attorney General’s office and the issuing authority had occurred with such content.

The Minister of Justice, Mr. Storberget, is responsible for this Norwegian judicial misery, but as his predecessors he doesn’t really demonstrate any interest to it. Norway and her courts are on a daily basis breaching the European Convention on Human Rights, and by doing so confirming that she couldn’t care less about the Convention on Human Rights or any (what Norwegian authorities considers) none-binding judgement delivered from this court.

If you want this to change, then you should stand up not only for your own rights when they are challenged by such a corrupt system, but also for your fellows.


Herman J Berge

[1] These three victories against Norway represent a deliberate halting and obstruction of three different law suits for a total of more than 55 years, which means an average obstruction of more than 18 years per court case. I have not found any similar cases indicating that other member states have been breaching the Convention to such an extent as what is the case with Norway.

[2] Sarcastic description of the late Mr. Riis, which obviously was not a friend to the Attorney General, on the contrary.

[3] The judge has passed away while the Attorney General has retired to the French Riviera, and their crime is long time forgotten.

[4] Married to a High Court Judge Cirsti Coward.