First day in court of the Brevik-case was a shattering experience. All Norwegians have read and heard the account of the attacks many times. Still listening to prosecutors Inga Bejer Engh and Svein Holden’s indictments, was like hearing it for the first time.
Two parallel lines enfold: one the one hand the prosecutor, on the other hand camera follow Anders Behring Breivik’s face. And it is the combination of the two that makes the case such a enervating experience.
One is sucked into the narrative of what took place, and the perpetrator is sitting there, with his Mona Lise-smile, and occasional grin.
Only once was there emotion in his face, when the prosecutor played his promotion-video. Music seemed to move him. The long list of people he had killed, did not. Was it a sentimental reaction? Commiseration with himself, and the sacrifice he has made? Sitting there now in the dock, knowing that his life is over?
Professor Erik Gjems Onstad makes an interesting point in Norway’s financial paper, Dagens Næringsliv: If Breivik is found sane and ends up in prison, he will enjoy the same rights as any other prisoner, and in Norway they are quite extensive. It might entail the right to communicate with the outside, receiving visitors and giving interviews. Thus Brevik could be with us for a long time, and the same media machine that have been evident since 22/7, could roll on for years to come. ABB is a money machine for the media, Gjems Onstad points out.
No other than the prime minister expressed a desire to have him declared sane and fit for prison.
The survivors have expressed a strong wish never to hear and see him again. A prison sentence might torpedo that wish.
Breivik himself obviously enjoys the spotlight. He seems cutoff from reality. When the courtroom watches film clips of him parking the van in front of the government buildings, and we see people milling about right up to the moment when the bomb explodes, Breivik smiles. He seems proud. Misson accomplished? Persons and actual deaths does not seem to mean anything to him.
He leaves an impression of charade.
At the start of the trial he tried to act the political figure. Disclaiming the authority of the court, and excusing himself with what in German is called Notwehr, an emergency situation, self defense.
It seemed contrived, forced. Like his whole demeanor.
Defence council Geir Lippestad will have a hard time convincing the court that is client is sane. He does not seem convinced himself. His attitude when talking to his client is restrained, pained. If he cannot convince us that he has established a sensible communication with the accused after 9 months, how is he going to do it in 12 weeks in court?
Breivik is a loose cannon on the deck. Lippestad seems uncertain what is in store. Tomorrow Breivik will have the floor. He will have five days in court. It seems like an awful long time. What on earth will he talk about that is relevant for the trial? Chief judge Arntzen seems like a resolute person, and she might cut him off.
Why should the nation listen to five days of ideological nonsense? He compromises all reasonable debate. Why should he have the opportunity to do more damage?