Minister of Justice Sigríuður Andersen has put forth a bill proposing that rulings of district courts relating to sensitive personal issues will no longer be published online, Kjarninn reports. Such cases would include sexual assault, violence in close relationships, restraining orders, and inheritance. The bill also proposes anonymity be observed in the publishing of convictions in such cases.
The bill would also grant district courts the authority to set rules regarding photography and audio recordings on their premises. The exposition of the bill states the changes are proposed to ensure better privacy.
Icelandic court rulings are currently published online. While anonymity is observed in certain cases, such as when a ruling involves children, or is related to incest or inheritance, the bill proposes extending the policy to cases involving sexual assault, violence in close relationships, and restraining orders.
“In the making of an action plan about the handling of sexual assault cases in the judicial system, there were clear opinions or suggestions that media coverage of sexual offences and their rulings or the handling of the case proved burdensome for victims,” Sigríður stated on morning radio today. “Anonymity is not set in these cases to protect the accused, rather the victim, because who the victims are can often be identified in the rulings and witnesses as well, for example.”
Sigríður added: “I think people should ask themselves whether it should be the role of the government to add to the punishment in this way when men have finished serving their sentence, let’s say 30 years later, that’s it’s still possible to look them up on a publicly available list. Criminal records have simply become public.”