The trial of the alleged home-grown Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik began on Monday in Oslo, the same city where last July he detonated a 950-pound bomb outside of government headquarters, killing eight people and injuring 200.
As he had done in the hearings leading up to his trial, Breivik admitted to detonating the bomb, as well as killing another 69 people at a summer camp on nearby Utoya island, but did not accept his criminal guilt.
Breivik has been charged with acts of terrorism under section 147 A and B of Norway's penal code, as well as with 77 counts of murder and 42 counts of attempted murder. The 33 year-old Breivik said on Monday that his were acts of necessity, and he personally charged Judge Wenche Elisabeth Arntzen with being prejudiced because she is friends with Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland's sister.
I don't recognize Norwegian courts because you get your mandate from the Norwegian political parties who support multi-culturalism, Breivik said in his opening comments, according to the Agence France Presse.
Terrorism charges carry a maximum 21-year sentence in Norway; however, the court could extend his sentence if it deems Breivik is a danger to society. Additionally, the court's final determination on Breivik's sanity will be of great importance -- if declared insane, Breivik will be institutionalized rather than imprisoned.
The opening of the trial was the sombre spectacle it was expected to be. As he walked into a courtroom that was filled with students who survived the attacks at Utoya, the family members of victims and reporters, Breivik extended the close fist of his right hand into the air, a gesture reminiscent of the fascist salute that is associated with the far right-wing.
At one point in the trial, Breivik began to weep. However, according to Norway's NRK, his tears were not tears of remorse. The killer began to cry when the court played his self-made propaganda video which summarizes the ideology Breivik laid out in his manifesto.
As in his 1,500-page document 2083; A European Declaration of Independence, the video espoused his view that Europe was being dominated by cultural Marxism and Islam, and that it was the duty of the Knights Templar, his fictitious army, to save the continent from multiculturalism and immigration.
Accompanied by images of crusaders, the video encourages others to contribute in the fight against [those whom] Breivik believes are enemies of Europe, said NRK. The pictures are accompanied by a pompous music.
Before the court adjourned for a lunch break, prosecutors went through the July 22 attacks in detail, tracking Breivik's movements in Oslo and Utoya and tracing the preparations Breivik himself outlined in his manifesto. The court also listened to emergency calls to the police from that day, one from an eyewitness that reportedly had the sounds of people screaming in the background, as well as one Breivik made to police in which he offered to surrender.
I think it’s very important that the world sees this and sees it for what it is. It’s a tragedy that is founded on political views that are very common in the rest of the world as well and we have to fight extremist actions like this,” Utoya survivor Bjoern Ihler told Euronews.