Speaking in a clear and decisive voice, Tonje Brenna told the Oslo district court how she had heard the killer’s ecstatic shouts as bodies rained around her hiding place in the crack of a cliff.
“I am absolutely sure that I heard cries of joy,” said the 24-year-old head of the ruling Labour Party’s youth wing, AUF, who was the first of the Utoeya survivors to take the stand. “If I had to spell it out, it would be WOO-HOO. Obviously cries for joy,” she said.
Seated at a table just a few metres from her, Breivik, who has showed virtually no emotion since his trial began on April 16, sat shaking his head in disapproval as Brenna recounted the events of July 22.
The 33-year-old right-wing extremist, who is eager for the court to find him of sound mind so his anti-Islam ideology will not be written off as the ravings of a lunatic, has insisted that he never laughed or smiled during the massacre.
“Why would I have laughed when I was there? That is not true. It was horrible. I did not smile,” he had told the court on April 20.
Breivik has been charged with committing terrorist acts when he first bombed a government building in Oslo, killing eight people, before heading out to Utoeya to massacre 69 mostly teenage participants at an AUF summer camp.
He has confessed to the acts but has refused to plead guilty, insisting the twin attacks were “cruel but necessary” to stop the Labour Party’s “multicultural experiment” and the “Muslim invasion” of Norway and Europe.
Although he is certain to be found guilty, his 10-week trial should determine the question of his sanity.
If the court finds him sane, Breivik will face Norway’s maximum 21-year prison sentence, but that term can be extended for as long as he is considered a threat to society.
If he is found criminally insane however, he will be sent to a closed psychiatric care unit for treatment. That is a fate Breivik, who is intent upon showing that his anti-Islam ideology is not the ravings of a lunatic, has described as worse than death.
Five judges will decide whether he should be considered sane or not when they hand down their verdict in mid-July.