REPORTING FROM LONDON -- A judge in Norway ordered Friday that confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik be given another psychiatric evaluation amid criticism and doubts over a previous diagnosis of insanity.
Breivik will now undergo more tests by two doctors to determine whether he is of sound mind and therefore able to stand trial for the July 22 bombing and shooting rampage in Norway that killed 77 people, most of them young people. It was the Scandinavian nation's worst peacetime massacre and left the nation stunned by the carnage and Breivik's fanatical right-wing, anti-Muslim views.
In November, a psychiatric assessment concluded that Breivik was clinically insane at the time of the attacks, a finding that would most likely entail medical treatment and internment for him rather than a full trial and imprisonment.
But the diagnosis came under heavy public criticism, including from some experts who questioned whether a deranged man could orchestrate such a well-planned attack. Breivik has confessed to setting off a massive car bomb in the center of Norway that served as a diversion while he went out to the nearby island of Utoya where, dressed as a police officer, he gunned down dozens of youths at a political summer camp.
On Friday, Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen in Oslo, the Norwegian capital, told reporters that the conflicting opinions warranted her order of a second evaluation for Breivik, 32.
Breivik has rejected descriptions of himself as psychotic or insane. He says that his methodical rampage had a clear-headed goal: to inspire "indigenous" Christian Europeans to rise up in a revolution to throw out Muslim settlers on the continent. Shortly before the attacks, he posted a manifesto hundreds of pages long referring to himself as a crusading "knight" and urging Christians to join him in reclaiming Europe.
After surrendering to police on Utoya, Breivik confessed readily to the killings. But he admits no criminal responsibility for them.
-- Henry Chu
Photo: Confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik leaving a court hearing in Oslo, the Norwegian capital, last July. Credit: Jon-Are Berg-Jacobsen / Associated Press / Aftenposten