15 Nov 2011

Norway mass killer admits attacks but denies guilt

9:29 am on 15 November 2011

A right-wing militant who killed 77 people bomb and gun attacks in Norway has acknowledged carrying out the massacre but refused to plead guilty in his first public hearing.

Anders Behring Breivik detonated a home-made bomb before shooting 69 people at the ruling Labour Party's summer camp in July.

In a court just two blocks from the bomb attack, the accused denied any guilt, saying he was a military commander in a far-right resistance movement.

"I acknowledge the acts, but I do not plead guilty," he said.

He also rejected the court's authority to hear his case, saying it received a mandate from organisations that support hate ideology and supports multiculturalism.

At one point Breivik attempted to address survivors of the massacre but the judge cut him off.

It was the first time survivors and victims' families were able to see Breivik face-to-face.

Previous hearings had been closed to the public.

About 120 people packed into the courtroom. Hundreds more squeezed into overflow rooms equipped with video links.

The judge extended pre-trial custody for 12 weeks but said Breivik can begin receiving visitors and letters under strict control.

A trial was tentatively set to begin on 16 April.