Friday, 17 August 2012

Accountability following the 22 July Commission Report: what will happen to Knut Storberget?

Without getting buried in details, it is our opinion that a lot more action could have been taken by the government in the immediate aftermath of the 22 July 2011 tragedy in Norway when 77 people were brutally killed. Following the 22 July Commission Report, the government is now at least appearing in the media to be in a hurry and to act. But it did not need the report to start acting and appearing to be in a rush. If they needed the report in order to have "facts" to really act on, that in itself demonstrates a huge internal issue with the current government and chain of command - most of the matters in the report should have been clear to them already if they were on the ball.

The commission's report issued massive criticism of the Ministry of Justice. For example, the report, top of page 22 states,
The Ministry of Justice and Public Security has sectoral responsibility for many of the agencies that faced challenges on 22 July. The ministry is in charge of the police, the Police Security Service, the Norwegian National Security Authority and the Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning, and it is also responsible for coordinating the ministries' work with civil protection and emergency preparedness. Our investigations indicate that a lack of overall control of the police force, and a culture of being overly cautious in the Police Security Service, as well as formidable weaknesses in the area of ICT are important underlying reasons for a great deal of what went wrong. The ministry must shoulder its share of the responsibility for these weaknesses.
What will be interesting to see now is what will happen to the man that was in charge of the Ministry of Justice from October 2005 until he stepped down, on his own volition, in November 2011, Knut Storberget. Will he be held accountable? Will he be asked to explain what went wrong? We think not as this government simply does not appear to be holding anyone accountable for anything and has instead focused on delaying action (through asking for an enquiry into what went wrong on 22 July, the commission report, which took one year to complete) and explaining how we need to learn from the events instead. See here and here for more about this and the 22 July Commission Report. There clearly is a cultural problem within the government itself and its good to see the press increasingly focusing on exactly that.

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