Norway’s Justice and Police Minister Knut Storberget resigned. His job will be taken over by Grete Faremo, Minister of Defence since 2009 and Minister of Justice from 1992 to 1996. Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg announced the change on Friday morning, during a sudden press conference.

The departure of the administrator comes at a unexpected moment, as the judiciary and police are under fire again during parliamentary hearings on the terror attacks on 22 July in Oslo and on the island of Utøya. Storberget was ultimately responsible for the security forces and, according to the prime minister, would not have requested his resignation until Friday morning.

“I had hoped he would stay,” Prime Minister Stoltenberg said. “Knut Storberget had a lot on his plate and now wants to spend more time with his family.” Stoltenberg said he has had many intensive, personal conversations with the outgoing administrator and knew that Storberget felt a great responsibility for the events in July.

The parliamentary hearings on Thursday yielded new information that critics in Norwegian politics say once again underlines the poor functioning of the emergency services. For example, Anders Behring Breivik, who has confessed to being behind the July attacks, was arrested in Utøya even seven minutes later than officially had been acknowledged until now. He had nearly 900 rounds left in his pockets.

Also, no one seems to know who had unnecessarily stopped the long line of ambulances from the campsite opposite the island of Utøya, while camping guests begged for quick medical help by phone for victims picked up from the water.

The attacks in Norway on 22 July 2011 killed 77 people. Anders Behring Breivik is the only suspect in prison and has admitted to being behind the acts. According to experts, with the appointment of defence minister Faremo on justice, government policy will be even more based on crisis readiness. State Secretary for Defence Espen Barth Eide will be the new minister for the armed forces and national defence. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (original published in Dutch on 11 October 2011)