Breakdown of the Votes in the Case of the Former Prime Minister of Iceland

The former Prime Minister of Iceland, Geir H. Haarde, was on trial for numerous accounts, related to the banking collapse of 2008. The Parliament had indicted him on 6 counts. Two of those were dismissed by the Court of Impeachment. He was acquitted on further three. At the end of the day he was found guilty of “not holding Cabinet meetings on important State matters”. The justices on the Court of Impeachment were unanimous in their decisions to acquit the former PM for three of the charges. The vote on the fourth went 9-6. Here’s a brief breakdown of the votes on that one.

Votes in the Court of Impeachment on whether fmr. PM Geir H. Haarde was guilty of "not holding ministerial meetings on important State matters".

Here’s the breakdown in some more detail. The Court of Impeachment consists of 8 judges chosen by the Parliament, 5 longest-serving Supreme Court judges, 1 Proffessor of Constitutional Law from the University of Iceland and The Chief Judge of Reykjavik District Court.

Parliament Appointed Judges

The Parliament chose the judges for the Court of Impeachment in 2005. The judges were chosen using proportional list representation. There were two lists: List A was the list of judges nominated by right-wing government at the time, List B were the judges nominated by (then) left-wing opposition. Here is those list of judges, that ended up sitting in the court, along with their list affiliation and verdict.

Judge List Verdict
Linda Rós Michaelsdóttir A Not Guilty
Sigrún Magnúsdóttir A Not Guilty
Fannar Jónasson A Not Guilty
Ástríður Grímsdóttir A Not Guilty
Vilhjálmur H. Vilhjálmsson B Guilty
Hlöðver Kjartansson B Guilty
Brynhildur Flóvenz B Guilty
Magnús Reynir Guðmundsson B Guilty

Thus, the pattern here seems pretty clear. Those nominated by the left (or current government) voted to convict, those nominated by the the current opposition voted “not guilty. The full list of judges nominated by the Parliament as well as the stand-ins can be found under the following link:

Supreme Court Judges

Supreme Court judges are nominated by the Minister of the Interior (formerly Minister of Justice). Here’s the list of the 5 Supreme Court justices, the political background of the minister nominating them and their verdict:

Judge Nominating Minister Verdict
Markús Sigurbjörnsson Right Guilty
Garðar Gíslason Right Not Guilty
Ingibjörg Benediktsdóttir Right Guilty
Viðar Már Matthíasson Left Guilty
Eiríkur Tómasson Left Guilty

The Justice Ministers in the years 1991-2009 were all members of the right-wing Indpendence party. A left-wing government took power in 2009. Note that this necessarily indicates the political background of the justices themselves, just the ministers (or governments) nomitating them. It should also be mentioned that there, where more senior judges on the Supreme Court, who apparently did not take their seats in the Court of Impeachment, probably due to their connection to the defendant.

Other Judges

Finally there are two more judges, one from the university of Iceland, and the Chief Judge Reykjavik District Court. (Both where in fact Stand-ins as the the professor of Constitutional Law, Björg Thorarensen opted out, and the Chief Judge of Reykjavik District Court was on a leave.)

Judge Institution Verdict
Benedikt Bogason University of Iceland Not Guilty
Eggert Óskarsson District Court of Reykjavik Guilty

Benedikt Bogarson has been a District Court Judge, (nominated by a right-wing minister) and was recently appointed to the Supreme Court by a left-wing minister. Eggert Óskarsson was nominated to the Reykjavik District Court by right wing minister but had been serving as a Reykjavik City Judge for some time before that. (Similar comments apply to some of the Supreme Court Judges in the paragraph before, there “political connection” is not always 100% clear. Or at least not to me.) You can find the full verdict (in Icelandic) here: