Norwegian right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik arrives on June 22, 2012 in the courtroom in Oslo on the last day of the trial. His defense is expected to call for his acquittal. Even though there is no chance Breivik will be set free, his lawyers must formally make the request since their client has pleaded not guilty, despite having confessed to carrying out the murderous twin attacks on July 22, 2011, when he first bombed a government building in Oslo, killing eight people, before going on a shooting rampage on Utoeya island, northwest of the capital, where the ruling Labor Party's youth wing was hosting a summer camp. Sixty-nine people died on the island, most of them teens. Breivik, 33, has confessed to the twin attacks but has refused to plead guilty, insisting they were 'cruel but necessary' to stop the Labor Party's 'multicultural experiment' and the 'Muslim invasion' of Norway and Europe. AFP PHOTO / DANIEL SANNUM LAUTEN (Photo credit should read DANIEL SANNUM LAUTEN/AFP/GettyImages)
Breivik claims killing was 'necessary'
03:45 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

No sooner were his handcuffs removed than Anders Breivik raised his arm in a salute

"I acknowledge the acts but do not plead guilty," he told the court

Magnay: He showed no remorse for the killing of 77 in Norway last year

Rescuer tells CNN: Breivik was so close to having a bullet between his eyes

Oslo, Norway CNN  — 

Anders Behring Breivik’s defense counsel had warned that the self-confessed killer would show no remorse. And that was clear from the start.

No sooner were his handcuffs removed in the than he raised his arm in a fascist-style salute – a symbol, to quote his wordy manifesto, of “strength, power and defiance against Marxist tyrants.”

He announced he did not believe in the authority of the Oslo court. His plea then followed: not guilty, though he acknowledged his acts. He claimed he was acting “from necessity.”

Rampage suspect says he acted to save Norway

He sat in the court on the first day of the trial Monday wearing a suit, no handcuffs, no restraints, no cage as you might see in other countries – not even for a mass murderer.

There were smiles and handshakes with the psychiatrists and prosecution at the start. The only barrier was bullet-proof glass between him and the family members, built to protect him rather than the other way around.

This is after all Norway, a country that prides itself on its liberal values. It is a country that has endeavored, as the Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg promised shortly after the attacks last year, to respond with “more openness, more democracy and more humanity” to these most inhuman of crimes which left 77 people dead.

And that is what they are doing – taking pride in the fact they are a society who will respect Breivik’s human rights, even when he showed no respect for the lives of others.

This is why Geir Lippestad, Breivik’s defense lawyer, took on this most difficult of jobs. “I remember I woke up my wife, or she woke up by the same telephone call,” he told reporters back in March.  “She’s a nurse and she said ‘if he had arrived at the hospital with gunshot wounds, the doctors and nurses would have helped him, they’d do their job. You are a lawyer, so don’t you want to do your job?’”

“He was so close to having a bullet between his eyes, the police were so close,” said Jorn Overby, who rescued 15 people from the waters off Utoya island on the fateful evening of July 22, 201.

When I press him about whether he felt that would have been the best thing for him, he replied: “I owe him a punch in the face for firing at me.” But his desire for revenge stops there. “He will get the treatment he needs,” he said.

These are people who would prefer never to have to speak Breivik’s name again.

On the Dagbladet website you can now press a button to opt out of news relating to the deadly attacks. There is a sense the people of Norway want to see due process done and then move on. They are a people who believe their system works, which is why no matter how unspeakable his crimes and how hard these months are and will continue to be, Breivik has not been able to break them.