The Icelandic state will request that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) review its ruling that appointments to the Court of Appeals constitute a violation of human rights. Minister of Justice Kolbrún Þórdís Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir announced the decision at a cabinet meeting today. The ECHR ruling, published last month, has put into question the authority of Iceland’s newly-established Court of Appeals, which took effect in January 2018.
“We have examined different facets of this important issue in the last weeks,” stated the Minister of Justice. “After that examination, I consider it proper to request a review from the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights. I consider it essential to take this path in light of the importance of the matter in this country. I will continue to explore other aspects of the issue but at this stage no further decision will be made.”
The ECHR ruled last month that Iceland’s government violated Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights in the appointment of judges to the newly-formed Court of Appeals (Landsréttur). The Article outlines individuals’ right to a fair trial. Minister of Justice Sigríður Andersen (above), who received heavy criticism for failing to follow the recommendations of a selection committee in her nominations to the court, resigned from her position following the ruling.
The ECHR’s ruling does not only affect Iceland, rather sets precedent throughout Europe. Whether the Grand Court decides to review the decision or not should be known within a few months.