Minister of Justice Sigríður Á. Andersen has just announced that she will be resigning—or in her words, “stepping aside”—from her post in the wake of a European human rights court ruling. Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir says that it is “untimely” to say whether or not Sigríður will return to her post.
Moments ago, Sigríður responded to yesterday’s ruling from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that her appointment of four judges to Iceland’s Court of Appeals in 2017 had been a violation of Article 6 § 1 (right to a tribunal established by law) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The ruling resulted in numerous calls for her resignation, but she was initially adamant that she would not resign. With a vote of no confidence expected against her soon, she apparently took steps to get ahead of the scandal.
She emphasised to reporters that she was resigning because she believed her persona was interfering with the process. Additionally, Sigríður encouraged the government to appeal ECHR’s ruling.
Sigríður’s tenure in office, which began in 2017, has been marked by scandal before. She played a key role in the collapse of the previous government, as her office had deliberately concealed information from the general public about then Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson’s connection to a convicted paedophile who had been granted “civic restoration”.
She was also known for her hard-line stance on immigration, in particular when it comes to asylum seekers, either instituting or stepping up enforcement of regulations that many argued violated both Icelandic laws and international human rights law.
This actually marks the second time in almost five years that a Justice Minister in Iceland has resigned, the previous one being Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir.