European Human Rights Court Probes Haarde’s Case Against Iceland

The European Court of Human Rights called on Iceland’s government to submit written “observations” to assess whether to go ahead with a complaint filed by its former prime minister, Geir H. Haarde.

The 62-year-old filed a complaint against his home nation to protest being put on trial for his role in its 2008 economic collapse. He was last year acquitted on the major counts, including failing to check the expansion of the banks, while he was found guilty for not keeping his Cabinet apprised on key developments through formal meetings.

Haarde in September 2010 became the first political leader to be indicted for economic mismanagement during the global financial crisis that started in 2007. Iceland’s biggest banks defaulted on $85 billion in October the following year, plunging the $14 billion economy into its worst recession in more than six decades and sending unemployment surging nine-fold.

In his complaint to the Strasbourg-based court, Haarde described the decision to put him on trial as “based on arbitrary and political grounds and that the fundamental defects in its preparation of the case against him had rendered the subsequent proceedings as a whole unfair,” according to the court’s letter to Iceland’s government, obtained by Bloomberg.

A spokeswoman at the court confirmed that the body has asked for observations on different issues. The letter asked for responses by March 6.

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