OSLO, Norway With a defiant closed-fist salute, a right-wing fanatic admitted Monday to a bomb-and-shooting massacre that killed 77 people in Norway but pleaded not guilty to criminal charges, saying he was acting in self-defense.
On the first day of his long-awaited trial, Anders Behring Breivik rejected the authority of the court as it sought to assign responsibility for the July 22 attacks that shocked Norway and jolted the image of terrorism in Europe.
Dressed in a dark suit and sporting a thin beard, Breivik smiled as a guard removed his handcuffs in the crowded court room. The 33-year-old then flashed his salute before shaking hands with prosecutors and court officials.
"I don't recognize Norwegian courts because you get your mandate from the Norwegian political parties who support multiculturalism," Breivik said in his first comments to the court.
Eight people were killed in Breivik's July 22 bombing of Oslo's government district and 69 others were slain in his shooting massacre at the left-leaning Labor Party's youth camp on Utoya island outside the capital. Breivik has said the attacks were necessary to protect Norway from being taken over by Muslims.
"I admit to the acts, but not criminal guilt," he told the court, insisting he had acted in self-defense.
The key issue to be resolved during the 10-week trial is the state of Breivik's mental health, which will decide whether he is sent to prison or into psychiatric care. Anxious to prove he is not insane, Brevik will call right-wing extremists and radical Islamists to testify during the trial, to show that others also share his view of clashing civilizations.
Norway's NRK television was broadcasting parts of the trial live but was not allowed to show Breivik's testimony.