As the trial of Anders Breivik starts in Oslo, what shocked in July is already shocking again, and not for the obvious reason.
His gun attack was on a summer camp and of the 77 people killed, in the bomb in Oslo, (killing 8 and injuring more than 200), and the shooting on Utoeya Island, (killing 69 and injuring 33), the majority were teenagers.
Breivik admits to the whole episode involving the bombing and gun attacks, but pleads not guilty of murder preferring to say it was self-defence and adding he was acting in “goodness”. He is proud of his act and according to a BBC news reporter present in court, told the court “I have carried out the most spectacular and sophisticated attack on Europe since World War II.” He also asked to be acquitted after saying he would do it again if possible. Breivik inferred he was inspired by al-Qaeda but said he hated Islam. There are so many contradictions it will be hard to get at the truth.
If found guilty, Breivik will be jailed for 21 years to life, but he was judged insane by one examination before the trial and although another found him to be mentally capable it is still unsure what the final verdict will be on his mental health. This will have a bearing on his sentence – insane, and he will be sent for psychiatric care: sane and he will go to prison – if he is found guilty.
Listening to one survivor talking about being stranded on a small rock with a group of people with the cold water on one side and a mad gunman on the other is a harrowing experience. She explains how some people present said the swim to the mainland of over half a kilometre was not possible as the water was too cold, yet some of this group made the decision to try. They preferred to die in the water rather than sit and wait to be shot. She then goes on to say that this proved to be the correct decision as the swimmers made it while the people on the rock were shot.
The trial is expected to last ten weeks, with Breivik’s testimony lasting five days. As his testimony today was expected to last 30 minutes but ran into an hour, this may make the five days into ten, and that will undoubtedly have repercussions on the overall length of this trial.
It only remains to wait and see what the outcome of this trial is and what other surprises Anders Breivik comes up with.