Norway mass murder suspect charged

 Anders Behring Breivik pictured in court in Oslo in February.

Story highlights

  • Anders Behring Breivik is accused of killing 77 people last summer
  • Prosecutors say he is psychotic and should be hospitalized
  • There has been a fierce debate over his sanity, which will affect his punishment
  • Breivik admits the killings but pleads not guilty, a judge has said

Anders Behring Breivik, accused of killing of 77 people in a bomb and gun rampage in Norway last summer, was formally charged Wednesday with committing acts of terror and voluntary homicide, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors say he was psychotic at the time of the killings and should be transferred to "compulsory mental health care."

A fierce debate has raged over whether Breivik is mentally competent to face criminal punishment.

The mass killing on July 22 was the single largest loss of life in Norway since World War II.

Breivik is accused of killing eight people in a bomb attack in Oslo, then going to Utoya island outside the city and systematically gunning down 69 more people, many of them teens and young adults.

Breivik has pleaded not guilty, though he has admitted carried out the attacks, the judge handling his case said previously.

Inside the Norway terror suspect's mind
Inside the Norway terror suspect's mind

    JUST WATCHED

    Inside the Norway terror suspect's mind

MUST WATCH

Inside the Norway terror suspect's mind 03:14
Norway mass murder suspect in court
Norway mass murder suspect in court

    JUST WATCHED

    Norway mass murder suspect in court

MUST WATCH

Norway mass murder suspect in court 02:01

His trial is due to start April 16 and is expected to last 10 weeks.

Read the full indictment

The court case is designed to demonstrate his guilt or innocence. His punishment, if he is found guilty, will then be based on the determination of his sanity.

Last month, a court ordered him to undergo a fresh round of psychiatric evaluation as experts seek to determine his mental state ahead of a trial.

Two court-appointed psychiatric experts recommended that he spend four weeks under 24-hour psychiatric monitoring so the court can get the fullest possible picture of his behavior, court documents released February 10 said.

The two experts were appointed to evaluate his mental state after the court requested a second opinion because of the importance of the question of sanity to Breivik's trial.

In November, prosecutors said psychiatrists had determined Breivik was paranoid and schizophrenic at the time of the attacks and during 13 interviews experts conducted with him afterward.

It may not be possible for him to be sentenced to the maximum punishment for the crimes if he's deemed insane.

Breivik reiterated some of his extremist views during a hearing last month, which began with him entering with a smile and offering up a raised, clenched-fist salute.

He insists nobody could believe that he was insane, and describes questions about his mental condition as ridiculous, his lawyer, Geir Lippestad, told the court.

Breivik claims the shooting rampage was a matter of self-defense, meant to save Norway from being taken over by multicultural forces and to prevent ethnic cleansing of Norwegians, Lippestad said.

Authorities have described him as a right-wing Christian extremist. A 1,500-page manifesto attributed to Breivik posted on the Internet is critical of Muslim immigration and European liberalism, including Norway's Labour Party.

The victims on Utoya Island were among 700 mostly young people attending a Labour Party camp on Utoya island.

        CNN recommends

      • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

        North Korea nuclear dream video

        As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
      • Photos: Faces of the world

        Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
      • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

        How to fix a soccer match

        Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
      • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

        15 biggest souvenir-buying no-no's

        It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.