Friday proved to be the most emotional and difficult day so far in the week-old trial against Anders Behring Breivik. Sitting in the Oslo, Norway courtroom for the fifth consecutive day, the far-right extremist was asked to recount the youth camp shooting spree on Utoya Island in which 69 people, most of them teenagers, were shot to death one afternoon last July.
[The] courtroom is silent. Listening. A horrendous real-time account of what he did on the island, tweeted journalist Matthew Price, who was in the Oslo court.
Survivors and the family of victims cried and held one another as Breivik detailed how, disguised as a police officer, he prepared for and then carried out his massacre.
“My whole body tried to revolt when I took the weapon in my hand. There were 100 voices in my head saying ‘Don't do it, don't do it,' he told the court.
But I was already surrounded. There were people around me, so I took the pistol and said to myself: it’s now or never.
Breivik has been charged with acts of terrorism, 77 counts of murder and 42 counts of attempted murder. Breivik pled not guilty to the charges on Monday, saying that the murders were acts of necessity and that he would have done it again.
Terrorism charges carry a maximum 21-year sentence in Norway; however, the court could extend his sentence once it's completed if Breivik is deemed a danger to society. Additionally, the court determines that Breivik is insane, which is now its main task, he could be institutionalized for the rest of his life rather than imprisoned.
On Friday, psychiatrists watched Breivik's retelling of his July 22 attacks intently. Two earlier court-ordered psychiatric evaluations have produced two different conclusions, with one declaring him sane but the most recent one asserting that Breivik suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.
In his testimony on Friday, which was described by reporters as technical, chilling and calm, Breivik explained how he took a ferry onto the island and killed an off-duty security guard, setting off his rampage.
“These are gruesome acts, barbaric acts,” Breivik said, explaining his courtroom demeanor. “If I had tried to use a more normal language I don't think I would have been able to talk about it at all.”
Although he claims that he can't remember large portions his presence on Utoya, the parts he did remember were told in the utmost detail, including the fact that he wanted to scare students at a cafe into running into the water and drowning.
He also told the court that the car-bombing that killed eight people in Oslo before the shooting spree was originally his main objective. The eight died when the bomb exploded outside government headquarters, but Breivik said he was hoping to bring down the whole building and all the members of the government with it.