Description, based on the provisions of the Act on a Court of Impeachment No. 3/1963, of the prospective course of events following a resolution by Althingi to initiate legal proceedings against a cabinet minister for violation of the Ministers' Accountability Act No. 4/1963. The description is set out in presumed chronological order, although some events may occur concurrently.
Resolution of Althingi to take legal action
A decision to initiate legal proceedings against a cabinet minister is taken by a parliamentary resolution (Distributed
September 11 2010, Vote
September 28 2010). Until that time, it is unknown whether an indictment will be issued against the minister, even though deliberations are in progress on a motion for such action in parliament. An indicted minister can only be convicted of charges falling within the scope of the parliamentary resolution.
Election of Prosecutor and Prosecuting Committee of Althingi
After Althingi has passed a decision to indict a person on the basis of the Ministers' Accountability Act the members elect a person to prosecute the case on behalf of parliament, the Parliamentary Prosecutor, and an alternate prosecutor in the event of the principal prosecutor's incapacity. Also, Althingi will elect a parliamentary committee of five members to monitor proceedings and assist the Parliamentary Prosecutor.
Announcement of legal action by the Speaker of Althingi
The Speaker of Althingi immediately sends a notice of the decision of Althingi to initiate proceedings to the President of the Supreme Court of Iceland, who serves, ex officio
, as the President of the Court of Impeachment; the President then notifies the indictee as promptly as possible of the initiation of legal proceedings. On receiving the notice, the President shall assemble the tribunal.
Appointment of legal counsel
As promptly as possible the President of the Court of Impeachment shall appoint A Supreme Court Attorney as counsel for the defence of the indictee; the selection shall be made at the wish of the indictee if there are no objections.
Investigation of the case
The Parliamentary Prosecutor is tasked with the duty of seeking all available evidence of the charges made; the Prosecutor shall prepare the gathering of evidence and investigation of the case and submit proposals to the Court of Impeachment on appropriate actions to reveal the truth of the matter. The Prosecutor shall consult with the Prosecuting Committee of Althingi.
Issue of Process
Following the investigation, the President of the Court of Impeachment shall issue a summons to the indictee and decide on the time granted from the service of process to the first hearing of the case, which shall be three weeks at a minimum. The summons shall be issued in the name of the Court of Impeachment.
Decision on the time and place of the sitting of the Court of Impeachment - First hearing of the case
The President of the Court shall decide on the time and place of the first sitting of the Court of Impeachment in consultation with the prosecutor and the counsel for the defence. When the Court of Impeachment has been called to order, the Prosecutor makes the opening statement.
Sitting of the Court for the taking of evidence
After the time limit set by the Court of Impeachment has passed, the counsel for the defence shall submit the plea of the indictee and the documents that the counsel intends to rely on in the defence of the indictee.
Following these preparations, the prosecution and defence of the case will take place before the court.
Following the proceedings, the case shall immediately be submitted to adjudication. The judges will then enter into conference. Following deliberation by the judges a vote shall be taken. The conference and voting shall be conducted in camera
Pronouncement of judgment
Judgment shall normally be pronounced as promptly as possible. The President of the Court shall read out the judgment in public at a sitting of the Court; the judgment of the Court of Impeachment shall be prepared in writing.
Possibility of re-opening a Court of Impeachment case
At the request of a sentenced party the Court of Impeachment may permit an adjudicated case to be re-heard if new evidence comes to light which makes it evident or likely that the sentenced person would have been acquitted or sentenced for a much lesser infringement had such evidence been placed before the judges prior to adjudication, or if it may be assumed that a sentence resulted partly or entirely from false evidence.