Anders Behring Breivik, a right-wing extremist accused in Norway’s worst ever mass murder, admitted Monday to killing 77 people in two targeted attacks last July. But Breivik rejected criminal responsibility for his acts, claiming he slaughtered his victims in self defence. Appearing on the first day of an expected 10-week trial, Breivik sported a thin beard and dark suit. He offered the gallery a close-fisted salute before denying that the court had any authority to try him.
From the Associated Press:
“I don’t recognize Norwegian courts because you get your mandate from the Norwegian political parties who support multiculturalism,” Mr. Breivik said in his first comments to the court.
Eight people were killed in Mr. Breivik’s bombing of Oslo’s government district and 69 others were slain in his shooting massacre at the left-leaning Labor Party’s youth camp on Utoya island outside the capital. Mr. Breivik has said the attacks were necessary to protect Norway from being taken over by Muslims.
“I admit to the acts, but not criminal guilt,” he told the court, insisting he had acted in self-defence.
Breivik’s self-defence plea is likely hopeless. Experts agree the trial will instead hinge on his sanity. Should he be found criminally responsible for his acts, he could face 21 years in prison or an indefinite, preventative term that would extend for as long as he is considered a danger to society.
For more insight on Breivik’s paranoid personal philosophy, read Colby Cosh’s dispatch from last August:
Breivik sees himself as the inspiration for an inevitable European uprising against multiculturalist governments that favour mass immigration. The killer’s manifesto—perhaps intentionally, perhaps only because it was written over a long period of time—reveals a political philosophy that is complex and contradictory in everything but its hostility to Islam and to “Marxism,” a term he uses with dizzying broadness to cover almost anything that is hostile to narrow cultural nationalism. Unlike his heroine Saga, Breivik rejects Nazism, calling it “genocidal and imperialistic in nature,” and lumps it in with his other “hate ideologies,” namely Islam, Communism and multiculturalism.
The political models he favours are low-immigration democracies outside Europe, notably Japan and South Korea; he admires India’s Hindu-nationalist politicians. His strong Zionism leads him to call Jews “our primary ally” against Islam. But while not a Nazi per se, Breivik devotes one of the creepiest sections of the manifesto to his “pragmatic” personal opposition to “race-mixing,” warning that it diminishes social cohesion and leads to suicide and “severe mental problems” for mixed-race offspring.