Breivik: I'd kill them all again
Norwegian gunman Anders Breivik has insisted he would massacre 77 people all over again, calling his rampage the most "spectacular" attack by a nationalist militant since the Second World War.
Reading a prepared statement in court, the anti-Muslim extremist hit out at Norwegian and European governments for embracing immigration and multiculturalism. He claimed to be speaking as a commander of an anti-Islam militant group he called the Knights Templar - a group that prosecutors say does not exist.
Maintaining he acted out of "goodness, not evil" to prevent a wider civil war, Breivik vowed, "I would have done it again."
Pressed by prosecutors to explain what he meant, he compared his attacks to the US dropping atomic bombs on Japan to bring the Second World War to an end. "They did it for something good, to prevent further war," Breivik said.
Breivik has five days to explain why he set off a bomb in Oslo's government district last July, killing eight people, and then gunned down 69 others, mostly teenagers, at a Labor Party youth camp outside the Norwegian capital. He denies criminal guilt, saying he was acting in self-defence, and claims the targets were part of a conspiracy to "deconstruct" Norway's cultural identity.
"The attacks on July 22 were a preventive strike. I acted in self-defence on behalf of my people, my city, my country," he said as he finished his statement, in essence a summary of the 1,500-page manifesto he posted online before the attacks. "I therefore demand to be found innocent of the present charges."
He compared Norway's Labour Party youth wing to the Hitler Youth and called their annual summer gathering an "indoctrination" camp. But he later told prosecutors he would have preferred to attack a conference of Norwegian journalists instead, but was not able to carry out that "operation."
Breivik's testimony was delayed briefly after one of the five judges hearing the case was dismissed for his comments online the day after the attack - comments that said Breivik deserves the death penalty. Lawyers on all sides had requested that lay judge Thomas Indreboe be taken off the trial, saying the comments violated his impartiality. He was replaced by backup lay judge Elisabeth Wisloeff.
Norway does not have the death penalty. If found mentally sane - the key issue to be decided in the trial - Breivik could face a maximum 21-year prison sentence or an alternate custody arrangement that would keep him locked up as long as he is considered a menace to society.
Families of the victims were upset at his evidence. "I think it's important to underline that we don't view Breivik as a politician in this matter. He is a mass murderer," Trond Henry Blattmann, whose 17-year-old son was killed on Utoya, said afterwards..