From Iceland — National Court Not Coming Together Before New Year

National Court Not Coming Together Before New Year

Published November 2, 2010

The national court that is to try former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde for neglect and mismanagement that contributed to the banking collapse of 2008 will not be convened until next year.
While Fréttablaðið is reporting that preparations are under way, sources close to the paper say that the trial is not likely to begin until after the new year. It has not even yet been decided where the trial will take place.
As reported, a parliamentary committee recommended that Geir, along with former Minister of Finance Árni M. Mathiesen, former Minister of Business Björgvin G. Sigurðsson, and former foreign minister Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir face charges of negligence and mismanagement for their part in the economic crash of fall 2008. However, there were heated differences of opinion between the Social Democrats and the Leftist-Greens, namely due to Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir expressing doubts that charging the ministers would accomplish anything.
Late last September, parliament voted on the parliamentary committee report. As a whole, all 63 members of parliament approved the report. As for the original charges, parliament voted against charging Ingibjörg, 34 votes to 29; against charging Árni, 32 votes to 31; and against charging Björgvin, 35 votes to 27.However, former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde will face charges of negligence and mismanagement, the measure passing 33 votes to 30.
Haarde has since maintained his innocence, saying that he was deliberately deceived by bank managers, and that he could have done nothing to prevent the collapse of the banks even if he knew what was going on.

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