A committee appointed by Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde in 2007 to investigate claims of abuse between 1950 and 1970 by inmates of the state-run treatment home for troubled boys in Breidavík, in the West Fjords, states that they are entitled to compensation.
The committee bases its conclusion on a report by Vidar Már Matthíasson, a professor in tort law at the University of Iceland, Fréttabladid reports.
The committee will present its findings in a 359-page report to the prime minister today.
According to Fréttabladid, the committee has found further proof that the boys who stayed in Breidavík suffered violent treatment from employees and other inmates. “It is clear that few things, if anything, can ever make up for the damage that the inmates of the Breidavík treatment home obviously suffered because of their stay there,” the report states.
The committee proposes that the government should estimate to what extent the victims are entitled to financial compensation. The obligation to do so has expired because the crimes occurred decades ago.
The committee suggested that the government look towards Norway, where victims in similar “expired” cases have been compensated.
If the Icelandic government decides that the state should pay compensation to those who were abused at Breidavík, there are two possible ways, according to the committee. One option is that each case be handled separately based on demands from each of the victims, another that law amendments be introduced permitting compensation to be paid on a general basis.
The Breidavík story broke early last year when men who had lived there as boys stepped forward saying they had suffered violent treatment at Breidavík during their youth, including rape.
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