I understand how North Americans might be puzzled by the seemingly lenient sentencing of 21 years for a terrorist who killed 77 people. However, this sentence is only lenient if you don't understand the Norwegian judicial system and the sentence in full: 

Breivik was sentenced to 21 years (max term - or "life in jail" in Norway) in forvaring (loosely translated to "confinement"). This differs from a regular jail sentence in several ways, most notably that he will be evaluated every 5 years to see if the confinement needs to be extended. This extension will be applied if he is still considered a threat to society. Considering his crimes it is unlikely he will ever be released even if he undergoes extensive rehabilitation and even accepts that what he did was wrong.

The Norwegian justice system is based around protection for the general public, rehabilitation of criminals and deterrent for potential criminals. It is not focused on punishment or retribution but rather restitution for the victims. And if you read the many responses from victims and families of victims you will see that they are all happy with this verdict. 

The most important part of this verdict - one that has gone relatively unnoticed by foreign media - is that it defines Breivik as a right wing extremist terrorist who committed these acts of terrorism based on an extreme right wing agenda shared by many both in Canada and the USA. This should be a wake up call for everyone who thinks terrorism is something done by others onto us. Terrorism has no nationality, no religion, no political colours. It can be white, protestant, home grown, and conservative. Food for thought.
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