Four Supreme Court judges declared themselves disqualified to have a seat in the High Court (Landsdómur) in the case of former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde. The High Court will convene for the first time in Iceland’s history today.
Former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde. Copyright: icelandic Photo Agency.
The court will convene not to rule on Haarde’s alleged misconduct in office during the events leading up to the banking collapse in 2008, but because of Haarde’s lawyer’s appeal of the Reykjavík District’s Court ruling that Haarde doesn’t have the authority to demand the case’s dismissal, Morgunbladid reports.
Fifteen judges are to have a seat on the High Court: The five Supreme Court judges who have the longest work experience, the chief judge of Reykjavík, a professor of administrative law at the University of Iceland and eight people elected by the Icelandic parliament, Althingi.
According to Fréttabladid, Árni Kolbeinsson was the first to step aside because he served as undersecretary in the Ministry of Finance while Haarde was minister.
Jón Steinar Valsson was asked to replace him. However, he declared himself disqualified due to his friendship with former Prime Minister and Independence Party chair Davíd Oddsson.
The next judge asked to step in, Ólafur Börkur Thorvaldsson, is a close relative of Oddsson and so he refrained from taking a seat in the High Court as well.
Supreme Court judge Páll Hreinsson was disqualified because he chaired the Special Investigative Commission which compiled the report on which the case against Haarde is based.
Eventually, Supreme Court Judge Vidar Már Matthíasson replaced Kolbeinsson.
Click here to read more about the High Court case.