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Norway killer admits mass murder but claims self-defence

Anders Breivik has pleaded not guilty to the 22 July 2011 massacre in an Oslo court this morning.

Image: Frank Augstein/AP/Press Association Images

THE FIRST MORNING session in the trial of Anders Behring Breivik, the man accused of pre-meditated murder and terrorism over the 22 July 2011 attacks during which 77 people were killed in Norway, has concluded.

The court has just returned from an hour’s recess after hearing Breivik’s initial not guilty plea.

The 33-year-old Norwegian admitted to the violent massacre but added that in murdering the 77 victims, he was acting in self-defense.

Earlier today, the court heard that Breivik does not recognise the Norwegian legal system because it gets its mandate from a political party that supports multiculturalism.

He said his claim was backed because sitting judge Wenche Elisabeth Arntzen is friends with the sister of former Norwegian Prime Minister and Labor Party leader Gro Harlem Brundtland.

Breivik denies criminal responsibility for either the bomb he planted at Government buildings in Oslo which killed eight people, or the slaying of 69 young adults on the island of Utoya.

“I admit to the acts, but not criminal guilt,” he told the court, insisting he had acted in self-defence. He used his testimony to explain why he believed his attacks were necessary to protect Norway from being taken over by Muslims.

The “legitimate targets” at Government buildings and the Labor party youth camp were chosen because he wanted to attack left-leaning political forces who allowed immigration.

Reporters in the courtroom have revealed that the man remained completely emotionless as the names of the 77 victims, their injuries and causes of death were read out. However, he wiped away tears when one of his own anti-Islamic videos was shown.

A number of videos have been shown to the courtroom today, including one of the bomb going off at Government building in Oslo and another made by Breivik himself and uploaded to YouTube on the morning of the 22 July.

The Foreigner reports that there were “glimmers of smiles” on the accused face as stills of him walking away from the explosion, while dressed as a police officer, are shown to the judges.

During his own 12-minute video, it has been reported that Breivik had to wipe tears from his eyes. On Twitter, BBC’s Matthew Price asks whether he was crying over his deeds or his beliefs?

Price also pointed out that it took an hour and a quarter for the accused to kill and injure his victims and it took just as long to read out all the horrific details of the crimes this morning.

Breivik continued to read the list of 77 dead and 33 injured to himself as they were being read aloud to the court.

Tweeting for Sky News, Trygve Sorvaag explains how the accused turned to look at the public gallery when CCTV footage of the Oslo explosion was shown. Some of the family members of the victims left the courtroom before the video was aired.

“People still crying in court room 250 after having seen how people were killed,” added Sorvaag.

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Before showing the video, counsel for the prosecution went through his detailed manifesto, as well as a timeline of the fateful day.

The court heard that two of the 69 killed on Utoya island did not die from gunshot wounds but from injuries sustained as they tried to escape, reports The Foreigner on its English-language blog.

As Breivik has already admitted to the atrocities, the six-judge panel will have to decide on Breivik’s mental health status over the next ten weeks. If he is found to be criminally insane – in which case he will be committed to psychiatric care – or mentally stable so he can be sent to prison.

The maximum sentence that can be imposed on the accused is 21 years but this can be extended to ensure he remains locked up.

The self-proclaimed writer was found insane in one examination that recommended committing him to compulsory psychiatric care, while a second assessment found him mentally competent to be sent to prison. It’s up to the judges in Oslo’s district court to decide which diagnosis they find most believable.

Lawyers for the accused have warned the nation that what his client will say may be offensive and shocking. Breivik has shown no remorse for his actions and even instructed his counsel to tell the press he was not sorry and would do the same thing over again.

-Additional reporting by AP

Trial of Norway killer Anders Breivik gets underway in Oslo>

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