17 Apr 2012

Breivik tells court his victims were guilty

Anders Breivik, who admitted killing 77 people in Norway, tells the court he was acting out of goodness, not evil, and claims he wanted to prevent a wider civil war.

Anders Behring Breivik has five days to explain why he set off a bomb in Oslo’s government district, killing eight, and then shot down 69 people, mainly teenagers, at a Labour Party youth camp outside the Norwegian capital.

“I have carried out the most spectacular and sophisticated attack on Europe since World War II,” Breivik told the court on the secondy day of his trial.

“These acts are based on goodness, not evil,” he added

Before his statement, Breivik had promised to be sensitive to victims and tone down his rhetoric. But the court audience, including survivors, shifted in their chairs, rolled their eyes, and murmured with impatience during his speech.

He ignored the repeated pleas of an angry judge to stop talking. When Breivik started talking about Japan and South Korea as role models, the judge asked him “to limit himself to Norwegian issues.”

He is getting what he wants and I don’t want to be a part of that. Hildegunn Fallang, survivor

Breivik’s testimony, which will go on for five days, will not be broadcast on television due to concerns that the gunman could use the trial as propaganda for his violent cause.

“He is getting what he wants and I don’t want to be a part of that,” survivor Hildegunn Fallang said.

Although he has admitted carrying out the atrocity, Breivik pleaded not guilty on Monday and said he acted in self-defence. He also rejected the authority of the court, calling it a vehicle of the “multiculturalist” political parties in power in Norway.

The 10-week trial will focus on whether Breivik is sane enough to be sent to prison for up to 21 years, or into psychiatric care if he is declared mentally ill.

Judge dismissed

The second day of the trial began with lawyers on all sides requesting that one of the lay judges, who said that Breivik deserved the death penalty in a personal comment online, be dismissed.

Thomas Indreboe, one of the five judge panel, admitted to making the comment on a chat forum the day after the attacks on 22 July last year, and was dismissed on Tuesday morning.

Breivik is being tried by two professional judges and three lay judges – a system that is design to allow ordinary citizens have a role in the Norwegian justice system.

“To post opinions like that on Facebook or any other social media, well, it’s not possible to be a judge after posting such opinions,” said Sjak Haaheim, a lawyer for victims of Anders Behring Breivik.

“I don’t see any need for having another debate on death penalty, not in Norway or in any other European country as well,” he added.

Bjoern Magnus Jacobsen Ihler, survivor of Utoya attack, said: “It is difficult to sit there in the same room as the man who killed very many of my friends, and he tried to kill me.

“But, at the same time, it’s good to see him in this position because he is very reduced from where he was at the island. He can’t harm me any more and that’s in many ways good to see.”