Anders Breivik Trial Gets Underway in Norway as Defendant Claims Self-Defense (+Video)

By Peter, Tom A | The Christian Science Monitor, April 16, 2012 | Go to article overview

Anders Breivik Trial Gets Underway in Norway as Defendant Claims Self-Defense (+Video)


Peter, Tom A, The Christian Science Monitor


Anders Breivik admitted to July 2011 attacks in Norway that killed more than 70 people, but did not take criminal responsibility for them.

Today Norway opened the trial of Anders Behring Breivik, the man responsible for a bombing and shooting last summer that left 77 people dead.

Mr. Breivik entered a not guilty plea, saying that he admitted to the acts, but did not take criminal responsibility for them.

"I acknowledge the acts, but not criminal guilt and I claim self- defense," Breivik told the court, according to The Telegraph. "I don't recognize Norwegian courts because you get your mandate from the Norwegian political parties who support multiculturalism."

The key thing for the court to determine now is whether Breivik is sane, which will decide whether he receives psychiatric care or is sent to prison. Presently, it remains unclear how the court will diagnose his mental condition. A first evaluation declared him a paranoid schizophrenic, but a second evaluation deemed him sane.

Communicating through his attorneys and an open letter, Breivik has attested to his own sanity, saying that confinement to a psychiatric ward would be "worse than death," reports Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

With Breivik expressing no remorse for his actions, the trial is likely to be an ordeal for many in Norway, reports the BBC. The gruesome July 2011 attacks, in which Breivik set off a car bomb in Oslo and then went on a shooting spree at a Labour party youth camp on the island of Utoya, shocked Norway.

"It's a historical date for Norwegians," said Jorid Nordmelan, a survivor of the Utoya massacre, in an interview with the BBC. "We never had a trial like this, so we don't know what's going to happen. Prosecutors told me they were going to make the opening statements awful, so that people can just feel what he did right there. …

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