The defiant 33-year-old right-wing extremist appeared in court and pleaded not guilty at 10:25am Oslo time. He acknowledged the killings but said he will not plead guilty because he was acting in "self defence."
Before entering a not guilty plea, Breivik said he does not recognize the court because it gets its mandate from political parties that support "multiculturalism" - echoing his fight against multiculturalism.
In today's trial, all the names of the victims were read out with a graphic description of how they were killed or wounded.
As I watched Breivik's first day in court this morning (see photo), I imagined the pain families of victims and survivors of his deadly rampage will have to endure throughout the trial. Listening to the names of the victims and how they lost their lives was very disturbing. Breivik showed no emotion when the prosecutor read out the names of victims of his carnage, but he appeared to shed tears when his propaganda video was aired in court.
However, there is hope that Anders Breivik will bear the full weight of the law for his "monstrously horrendous" acts - especially after results of a second mental assessment released on 10 April 2012 concluded that he was mentally competent at the time of the massacre (contrary to an initial conclusion that Breivik suffers from paranoid schizophrenia). Besides, his plea of self-defense makes no sense. Commonsense tells me that you can't attack and kill a bunch of unsuspecting unarmed kids in a summer camp in peacetime and successfully claim self-defense. Reports show that Breivik's actions were premeditated over a long period of time.
According to Breivik, the killing was in a bid to save Europe from "Islamic colonization" - a phrase widely used by right-wing extremists across Nordic and Western Europe as a justification for anti-immigration and Islamophobic sentiments.
Across Europe, many right-wing political parties share Breivik's tough stance against Islam and multiculturalism.
For example, in Finland, the Perrussuomalaiset (True Finns) espouse "traditional Finnish cultural values" as opposed to multiculturalism; in Denmark, the Danish People's Party (DPP) is anti-islamist and wants to ban immigration from non-western countries; in Sweden, the Sweden Democrats (SD) has close ties with Denmark's anti-Islamist DPP; in the Netherlands, there's the Dutch Freedom Party led by a fervent anti-Islamist. [Source]. The list goes on.
Analysts have said that Anders Breivik will use this high profile trial as a platform to promulgate his toxic anti-Islamist and anti-multiculturalism views. Regardless of what happens during the trial, I'm confident that justice will be served.
Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) provides that:
"In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practise their own religion, or to use their own language."
It follows that the ICCPR obligates States parties to allow many cultures to co-exist in society.
Norway and other countries that have ratified that ICCPR have an obligation under international law to protect religious, ethnic or cultural minorities from right-wing extremists and nationalists who seek to "assimilate" or terrorize linguistic, religious or ethnic minorities. From a legal (international human rights law) standpoint, immigrants from so-called "non-western" countries and other minority groups have the right to maintain and enjoy their own cultures while undergoing integration into society in a receiving country. They must not be forced to give up their culture, language or religion. On the other hand, minority groups must not force their culture, language, religion or way of life on the majority in the receiving country.
If it is found that Breivik was mentally stable during the 22 July massacre, he faces a sentence of 21 years in prison, which could be renewed to keep him imprisoned for life [Source] - locked away from the public he terrorized on that fateful summer afternoon.