At trial, suspect in Norway massacre says he’d ‘do it again’

Here and Now

Anders Breivik, the man who is currently standing trial for the massacre of 77 people in Norway last July, says he should be found not guilty because he was acting to protect Norway.

Breivik also said he would carry out his attack again.

Reading a 13-page statement during his trial in Oslo, the man insisted “these acts are based on goodness not evil.”

At Tuesday’s proceedings, it was also revealed that Breivik called police and tried to give himself up before at least some of the people were killed.

Lars Bevanger, a BBC reporter who has been in the courtroom, said Breivik is essentially arguing he is at war against a system that threatens the existence of Norway and even all of western Europe.

“He believes multiculturalism and Islam are threatening to undermine the Norwegian national identity,” Bevanger said. “This, he feels, is enough to commit these atrocities he has admitted to committing.”

The entire statement brings back up the question of whether Breivik is in fact sane enough to stand trial. One mental evaluation found him legally insane, while a second found him sane. For his own part, Breivik insists he is sane.

The big question, Bevanger said, is whether Breivik is criminally accountable for what he did, when he did it, and today. If he is, he could be sent to jail for decades, with the possibility he might never be released. If he’s found insane, he could be confined to a mental health facility until he’s deemed to be sane.

“The court will take everything into consideration, both the reports and all the evidence presented, his and the victims’,” Bevanger said.

Breivik has been comparing his own attacks to other violent incidents throughout history. For example, Breivik argued, that United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing tens of thousand, to prevent further war.

“He’s drawn big, historical lines in his evidence,” Bevanger said. “At lunch they stopped short while the judge said ‘you need to concentrate on what’s happened in Norway here. That’s what you’re tried for.’ “

Bevanger said it’s quite unfathomable how someone can justify cold and calculated attacks in the name of cultural purism.

The general mood in Norway, Bevanger said, is that justice should be done. And they’re willing to sit through what is expected to be a 10-week trial where all of the events of the attack are replayed in front of the court.

“At the end of it, they’re looking forward to the trial being over, for him to get his verdict and for him to go away, basically, so this country can carry on, so the people in it can carry on with their lives,” Bevanger said.

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