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Iceland votes to refer ex-PM to special court over financial crisis

Geir Haarde may be the first world leader to stand trial over the global financial crisis.

Iceland's former Prime Minister Geir Haarde,
Iceland's former Prime Minister Geir Haarde,
Image: AP Photo/Arni Torfason

THE ICELANDIC PARLIAMENT has voted to refer the country’s former Prime Minister Geir Haarde to a special court over his role in the nation’s 2008 banking crisis.

The vote comes after the “truth report” – a 2,300-page government-commissioned document that examined the crisis- was published earlier in the year, which accused the country’s politicians of “gross negligence”, according to the Financial Times.

The court will now rule on whether Haarde should face trial for negligence, the BBC reports.

If the trial goes ahead, Haarde will be the first politician to be tried in the special court, which was set up  in 1905 to try government ministers accused of crimes. Indeed, he would be the first world leader to be charged in connection with the global financial crisis.

If he is found guilty, he could face fines or even a prison sentence of up to two years .

Haarde has appointed the Supreme Court lawyer Andri Arnason to represent him, and has said he believes that such charges against him would be political and not criminal in nature, according to IceNews.

He added that while he was facing charges, his former foreign, finance and business ministers were not.

He said to the Icelandic Broadcaster RUV:

I will answer all charges before the court and I will be vindicated.

The vote to refer charges to the court against Haarde passed narrowly in parliament at 33-30.

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