All eyes on Oslo as Breivik trial opens | News | DW | 16.04.2012
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All eyes on Oslo as Breivik trial opens

A trial that has attracted world-wide attention has begun in Oslo on Monday. The biggest question about the trial is whether or not Anders Behring Breivik is criminally insane.

The trial of a man accused of killing 77 people in Norway in July of last year opened in a court in Oslo this Monday, amid fears that he would use the proceedings to publicize his anti-Muslim views.

Anders Behring Breivik is accused of killing 69 people at a Labor Party youth camp on Utoya island 40 kilometers (25 miles) outside the Norwegian capital, after having set off a bomb that killed eight in Oslo itself.

The facts of the case appeared clear before the trial began, as Breivik has already confessed to carrying out the attacks, which he said were necessary in order to prevent Muslims from taking control of Norway.

Questions about the suspect's mental health

The state of the 33-year-old suspect's mental health is far less clear, with one psychiatric assessment finding that he was criminally insane, while a second one found no evidence of psychosis.

If found mentally competent, Breivik could face a maximum of 21 years in jail or an indefinite sentence, if he is found to be a danger to society. If found criminally insane, he will likely be held in a psychiatric institution with no clearly defined sentence but with periodic reviews.

The first day of the trial was expected to be used to go through the charges, to which Breivik was expected to plead not guilty. The following five days have been set aside for Breivik's testimony.

The case has attracted attention throughout Europe and around the world, with several hundred journalists in the Norwegian capital to cover the trial.

pfd/sej (Reuters, AFP, AP)