Norwegian police are considering charging the man who says he carried out last week's killings of 76 people with crimes against humanity, which would carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.
The new charge against Anders Behring Breivik would mean he could serve more than the current 21 years he faces for terrorism-related charges after Saturday's twin bombing and shooting, a term that many Norwegians feel is not long enough.
Prosecutor Christian Hatlo told yesterday's Aftenposten newspaper that the new charge, which became possible after entering into law in 2008, was currently only "a possibility".
"Police have so far cited ... the law on terrorism but seeking other charges has not been excluded," police spokesman Sturla Henreiksboe told AFP. "No final decision has yet been taken," he said.
Staale Eskeland, professor of criminal law at Oslo University, said "to kill a group of civilians systematically is the basic criteria" for charges of crimes against humanity.
In both cases the sentence can be extended for up to five years at a time if there is a risk of repeat offences.
Breivik was kept from the public's gaze yesterday as he appeared at a closed Norwegian court hearing. But he retained the world's attention as the authorities said they were investigating his claims to have worked alongside "two more" terror cells.
Breivik's astonishing claim came as a Norwegian court ruled the self-confessed mass murderer should be held in prison for the next eight weeks, four of them in total isolation without visits, letters or access to the internet.
Oslo's police force is investigating whether the perpetrator of Norway's worst violence since World War II had help from ideological or practical accomplices. Police yesterday said Breivik had been inconsistent, telling investigators he acted alone and also that he had help from "two more cells".
In his manifesto Breivik claims to have founded an anti-Muslim "Knights Templar" in London eight years ago. The group's existence is being investigated by European security officials who have said they are aware of increased internet chatter from individuals claiming they're in the same organisation.
"We cannot completely, and I stress completely, rule out that others were involved in what happened," said police attorney Christian Hatlo.
He said Breivik "seemed unaffected by what had happened" but was prepared to spend the rest of his life in prison.
He had admitted to carrying out the attacks but had refused to plead guilty.
It also emerged last night that the PST, Norway's equivalent of the MI5, had Breivik's name on an April watch list of 60 people who had purchased chemicals in Poland. But it was considered too small an amount to warrant further investigation.
It is now thought some of the chemicals bought from Poland were used to make his car bomb.
Police yesterday reduced the final death toll from the Utoya shootings from 86 people to 68, citing the difficult conditions and confusion after the killings for the earlier figure. The total number killed in both attacks is now 76 after an eighth person died from the Oslo bomb blast.
More than 90 have been injured, many critically with gunshot wounds from dum-dum bullets that shattered on impact.
Tens of thousands of people across Norway turned out for a vigil yesterday in memory of those who died.
The gatherings were the culmination of a dramatic day which started when angry crowds gathered outside Oslo District Court as Breivik was driven in through an underground side entrance in a convoy of armoured Mercedes jeeps for his first court appearance since his arrest.
Dressed in a red jumper, Breivik smiled to waiting spectators as he was driven away after a 35-minute hearing.
Norway's Justice Minister, meanwhile, hailed "fantastic" police work, setting aside criticisms that police had reacted too slowly once Breivik went on the rampage.
"It is very important that we have an open and critical approach ... but there is a time for everything," Knut Storberget said after talks with Oslo's police chief, referring to questions, mostly in the media, about the police response time.
An armed SWAT team is said to have taken more than an hour to reach Utoeya island, where Breivik was coolly shooting terrified youngsters at a ruling Labour Party youth camp.
Storberget also denied police had ignored threats posed by right-wing zealots. "I reject suggestions that we have not had the far-right under the microscope," he said.
Many Norwegians seem to agree that the police do not deserve opprobrium for their response. At a march of more than 100,000 in Oslo yesterday, people applauded rescue workers.
- Independent, AAP
THE MURDERER, THE MURDERED AND THE MISSING
The enormity of the Norwegian tragedy became more apparent yesterday as pictures of the dead and missing began to emerge - images of bright, ambitious youngsters
TROND BERNTSEN, 51
A father-of-two and a policeman, the stepbrother of Norway's Crown Princess Mette Marit died fighting to save youngsters on Utoya Island. He worked there as a voluntary guard. He pushed his 10-year-old son to safety before trying to stop Breivik from massacring others.
GUNNAR LINAKER, 23
Was called a "big bear" by his family. His father, Roald Linaker, said he had been on the phone to his son when the attack started. His sister survived by hiding behind a bush.
EMIL OKKENHAUG, 15
Listed as missing. His uncle, Knut Okkenhaug, feared the worst: "The family is experiencing bottomless grief." The popular high school student had hoped to study media and communication.
MONICA BSEI, 45
Mother-of-two and one of the first victims. Her husband was close by while her two daughters were also on the island but survived the attack. Was hoping to start a job as director of the Norwegian Maritime Museum in a few days, having worked at Utoya for more than 20 years.
TORE EIKELAND, 21
Was the leader for AUF Hordaland. Described as one of the most talented youth politicians.
ISMAIL HAJI AHMED
A close friend, Mohamed Abdi Farah, wrote on Facebook: "You are in paradise and are protecting all of us from heaven." Feared dead.
JAMIL RAFAL YASIN, 20
The child of Iraqis who fled the war and sought refuge in Egersund. She was at Utoya with her brother who was injured during the shooting. Friends described her as "a proud Norwegian, a gorgeous person and kind-hearted".
HANNE FRIDTUN, 20
Was leader of AUF in Sogn og Fjordane. She was described as a young woman of great compassion who worked to help the vulnerable in the community.
TARALD MJELDE, 18
Deputy leader of Hordaland AUF. Erik Dale, a friend and colleague in Norwegian youth politics wrote online: "We still need you, Tarald ... The little big boy with an enthusiasm that infects everyone around you ... I am sure you could have been an athlete."
SIMON SAEBO, 18
President at his school in Troms had been nicknamed JF Kennedy by his friends.
TORJUS BLATTMANN, 17
His father, Trond, wrote on Facebook: "What we are experiencing is completely unreal and so incredibly painful."
SYVERT KNUDSEN, 17
A young chef and leader of Lyngdal AUF, has not answered the phone since the shootings and is believed to have been killed.
MARIANNE SANDVIK, 16
Was planning to start studying health and social science and became a member of Stavanger AUF.
JOHANNES BU, 14
AUP activist from southern Norway, was feared to be the youngest among the dead after his father confirmed he was missing.