“It is very good that there is now a conclusion in this difficult case. I was a little surprised; I had not seen a reason to file charges against Geir,” Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir commented on the verdict over her predecessor, announced on Monday.
Prime Minister of Iceland Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir. Photo by Geir Ólafsson.
“He is acquitted in three out of four items and one might say that the item for which he was convicted is what was stated in the report of Alþingi’s Special Investigation Commission,” Jóhanna added to Fréttablaðið.
“It was a major indictment for the administration and [shows] lack of formality,” the PM said of the item in which Geir was found guilty. He was convicted of having failed to inform his ministers of the impending danger for the country’s economy.
Jóhanna stated that the government has already reacted to that criticism to a large extent. Ministerial committees have been established to cover important matters and the records of meetings are now presented to the cabinet, she explained.
The laws on the cabinet state that all important governmental issues are to be discussed at cabinet meetings, she added.
Jóhanna is now calling for the coalition and opposition parties to review and amend the laws on the High Court (Landsdómur) as she does not find it natural to place parliamentarians in the position of prosecutors.
Her coalition partner, Minister of Economic Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, told mbl.is that after the SIC report was published, the parliament couldn’t avoid discussing it and taking a position on the responsibility of politicians and ministers in the lead-up to the economic collapse.
“It was done on the basis that suggestions by the majority and minority of Alþingi’s special commission were voted on. The matter took this course towards Landsdómur and a conclusion is now at hand. I believe it shows that there was reason to take it to court,” Steingrímur said.
Geir issued harsh criticism over Steingrímur in an interview on RÚV’s news magazine Kastljós on Monday, naming him as the initiator of the trial and calling for his resignation as he had not achieved what he set out to do; to have him convicted of all charges.
Chairman of the opposition’s Independence Party Bjarni Benediktsson told Morgunblaðið that the verdict is an almost complete victory for Geir, his former party leader.
“What stands out to me is that all judges of the High Court agree that Geir is innocent in all of the charges that were discussed in Alþingi’s Special Investigation Commission’s report and were the reason for filing charges,” Bjarni said.