A Norwegian court has heard the autopsy reports of the first victims of a youth camp massacre that left 69 people dead on Utoya island.
Anders Breivik, who has admitted to the massacre and a bombing in Oslo, listened impassively as a police inspector and coroner described the gunshot wounds the far-right fanatic inflicted on his victims on July 22.
In an attempt at personifying the dead in Norway’s largest peacetime massacre, attorneys for the victims showed pictures from their lives, and read descriptions of them from their families to audible sobs from the bereaved in Oslo’s district court.
Breivik claims the victims were traitors.
In his introductory remarks, coroner Torleiv Ole Rognum said Breivik used three different kinds of ammunition for his rifle, most of which was designed to fragment inside the victims’ bodies.
Breivik, 33, sat motionless in court as lawyers moved themselves and many listeners to tears with their descriptions of his victims.
Attorney Berit Borgen choked back tears as she read a message from the son of Trond Berntsen, a 51-year-old off-duty police officer who was Breivik’s first victim on Utoya: “Daddy, you were the best in the world.”
The family of another victim, 17-year-old Lejla Selaci, said in a statement to the court: “We will fight for your ideals, we will see each other again.”
Lejla, whose family are from Kosovo, was the leader of a local chapter of the Labour Party’s youth wing, which was celebrating its annual summer camp on Utoya when Breivik opened fire with a rifle and a handgun. She was shot twice in the head.
Breivik has said he considered the Utoya camp a legitimate target because he claims the Labour Party betrayed Norway by supporting multiculturalism.
Breivik claims he is an anti-Muslim resistance fighter on a campaign to protect Norway’s cultural identity.
He drove to Utoya after setting off a car bomb outside the government headquarters in Oslo, killing eight.
Since he has admitted his actions, Breivik’s mental state is the key issue for the trial to resolve.
If found guilty and sane, Breivik would face 21 years in prison, although he can be held longer if deemed a danger to society. If declared insane, he would be committed to compulsory psychiatric care.
The trial is expected to last to the end of June.