Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Accountability, Icelandic style III

Back in 2008, Icelandic Prime Minister Geir Haarde was driven from office over his mishandling of the Icelandic banking crisis. Today, he went on trial for it:

Haarde is the first world leader to face criminal charges in relation to the global financial crisis, which caused the collapse of banks across the world and helped plunge the UK into recession. He is also the first person to be hauled before Iceland's Landsdomur, a criminal court created in 1905 to hear charges brought against ministers.

Last year Iceland's parliament, the Althingi, voted to indict Haarde for "economic negligence" in failing to prevent the 2008 financial crisis, which brought the country to its knees.

Haarde was charged with "violations committed from February 2008 through the beginning of October of the same year, by intent or gross neglect, mostly violations against the laws of ministerial responsibility".

If convicted, he could face two years imprisonment. And it would be deserved. This man's decisions still threaten to reduce Icelanders to permanent debt-slavery to pay off the foreign creditors of the banks he bailed out.

Meanwhile, I can't help but think that if our leaders could be held criminally liable for their conduct in office, they would be a lot more careful. And if it was a possibility during the 90's, then we wouldn't be suffering from a multi-billion dollar leaky homes crisis today.