Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Accountability, Icelandic style

Back in 2009, the people of Iceland drove the government of Prime Minister Geir Haarde from office after its lax regulation had destroyed the economy. Now a Parliamentary committee has recommended that Haarde and three of his Ministers stand trial over the collapse for negligence in office and violating the law on ministerial responsibility. Now that's accountability.

Parliament will now vote on the charges, and if they decide to proceed, a Court of Impeachment (provided for in Article 14 of the Icelandic Constitution) will be convened for the first time in over a century. I'm not sure what the penalty is if convicted (and the indictment includes "breaches of the Icelandic penal code" as well as violations of Ministerial responsibility), but the mere fact that a conviction is recorded would be a serious penalty to any politician.