Table of Contents:

Researchers

Five individuals were identified as researchers, including postgraduate and PhD students.They submitted six inquiries about the SIC archive.

In four cases they asked for access to certain information, like the databases of SIC and statements of individuals. In one case access was granted because the information was of a general nature. A request for access to statements from individuals and other sensitive material was denied. One request was to access information that is not in the SIC archive, and access to the databases was answered with guidelines on access that is possible for a researcher.That ended the case.Two researchers asked about the SIC archive and access to it. And after sending them explanations on the rules and conditions for access, the NAI did not hear from them again.

As already noted, the rules for access by researchers is described in the Act No. 142/2008, Article 18, but the access is conditional or restricted in several ways.The simple version is: first, a researcher must send in a detailed application with objectives and plan of the research project. The application then undergoes an evaluation and if access is granted, the data, such as that in the nine databases of the SIC, has to be supplied without personal identification (pseudonym or anonym) if it is possible to do so. The costs of processing the data, from being the person identifiable, is to be paid by the researcher or the person responsible for the research project.41 These restrictions have hitherto prevented researchers from sending in a full-scale application on a research project.

Journalists

The media have not had much interest in the SIC archive. Probably because there is ample information in the detailed and revealing SIC report and later a lot of newsworthy information was available in connection to the lawsuits and court cases.42 In all, six journalists have asked about the archive. Three of them, from different media, asked about what the access rules were and how much interest there has been in the SIC archive, how many have asked for access, what is closed for the public and how the NAI was coping with the requests. All journalists received appropriate answers to their questions One requested access to a statement of an individual and was refused. Another one asked for access to some statements but withdrew when he was guided to be more specific and informed about rules that applied about access to sensitive information. A third journalist got access to a document with general information with no restrictions.

Prosecutors

In September 2010, the Icelandic Parliament decided to initiate proceedings against the former Prime Minister for violations suggested by the SIC, as the Prime Minister prior to the financial crisis in 2008.43 A parliamentary prosecutor was appointed to run the case.44

In order to build the case, the prosecutor made five requests for access to documents from the SIC archive from November 2010 to March 2011. In all, 212 items were requested, which took about 170 hours to identify and retrieve. Common items requested were a letter, a report, a statement, and minutes of a meeting. A few requests were for all available minutes of a meeting from a board or another entity. The prosecutor has the authority to access a wide range of information, but the NAI is obliged to consider each request for access and evaluate the nature and level of sensitivity of the information, and then weigh the interests of those that gave the information against the interests of the inquirer. After an evaluation, the NAI granted access and delivered copies of the vast majority of the documents asked for, but refused to give access to interviews (statements) of individuals conducted by the SIC where people could not claim any confidentiality. On the same grounds the archive refused to deliver copies of Geir H. Haarde’s e-mail communications and some telephone transcriptions.45 However, the ruling of the Reykjavik district court required The National Archives to also hand over these documents.46 In 2012, Geir H. Haarde was eventually found guilty of gross negligence in having failed to hold cabinet meetings on important matters, but was acquitted of other charges.47 This was the first time that an Icelandic government minister was charged and convicted for negligence in official duties.48

Besides the parliamentary prosecutor, the special prosecutor put forward an inquiry about the content of the SIC archive, especially about the databases and other digital data but did not ask for access.44

 
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