From Iceland — Geir Haarde Going To Human Rights Court

Geir Haarde Going To Human Rights Court

Published October 23, 2012

Former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde intends to take the Icelandic government to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for the trial he was subjected to earlier this year.
Last April, Geir stood accused of negligence and mismanagement leading to the bank collapse of 2008, in violation of Article 17 of Iceland’s constitution. Numerous witnesses came forward in the course of the trial, from former Central Bank chairman Davíð Oddsson to former and current members of government, as well as former high-rollers in Iceland’s banking community. Ultimately, Geir was found guilty of one charge of negligence, but was not sentenced. The Icelandic government was also ordered by the court to pay Geir and his legal team 24 million ISK.
Since then, Geir has been hired to work for the law offices of Opus, offering consultation on “international affairs”. However, the matter is far from over, as far as he is concerned.
Vísir now reports that Geir intends to take the Icelandic government to the ECHR, contending that his trial was a violation of his human rights.
Geir contends that much about the trial against him was “reprehensible”, and says that the Icelandic government broke international human rights law regarding the right to be charged for a specific crime. Rather, he says, his trial was a political one initiated by political enemies.
The move to go to a European human rights court may have been initiated by a recent memorandum (.pdf file) written for the committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights by Pieter Omtzigt, an EMP for the center-right European People’s Party, which states in part that Geir’s trial was “arguably one of those cases from which lessons can be drawn for keeping political and criminal responsibility separate.”
Geir’s lawyer, Andri Árnason, has already filed the casework with the ECHR. A decision from the court should be pending shortly.

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