Spanish Judge, Pinochet Nemesis, to Go After Bush Gang? March 28, 2009Posted by rogerhollander in A: Roger's Original Essays, About Justice, Criminal Justice, Torture.
Tags: Alberto Gonzales, baltasar garzon, cheney torture, Criminal Justice, david addington, dogulas feith, doj, Guantanamo, jay s. bybee, john yoo, justice department, office of legal counsel, pinochet, roger hollander, rumsfeld torture, spanish al qaeda, spanish judge, spanish law, torture, universal jurisdiction, william j. haynes
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Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzón
Roger Hollander, www.rogerhollander.wordpress.com
March 29, 2009
Today’s edition of the Spanish daily, Público (www.publico.es) reports that the Spanish judge who nearly sent Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet to the calaboose, may be taking aim at the Bush team that was responsible of the Guantánamo Gulag.
Justice Baltasar Garzón, examining magistrate of the Juzgado Central de Instrucción, no. 5, which investigates the most important criminal cases in Spain, has forwarded to the Fiscalía (Spanish government Attorney General) for investigation a complaint issued on March 17 by four Spanish attorneys who specialize in crimes against humanity.
The complaint does not name Bush himself but rather the legal team that set the stage and provided the justification for the Guantánamo Bay torture machine. Those included are Alberto Gonzales, a Bush advisor at the time of the Guantánamo policy design (and future Attorney General); David Addington, advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney; William J. Haynes, General Counsel to the Department of Defence under Donald Rumsfeld; Douglas Feith, Undersecretary of Defence for Policy; Jay S. Bybee, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel; and John Yoo, deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel and author of the infamous “torture memo.”
The Spanish legal system gives jurisdiction to the complaint under the notion of “universal jurisdiction,” which applies to serious infractions such as torture and other crimes against humanity. The complainants, however, are also claiming specific Spanish jurisdiction via a case that the same Justice Garzón had opened against five accused members of a Spanish Al Qaeda cell, who had passed through Guantánamo and were subsequently acquitted because of testimony obtained by torture at Guantánamo. The present complaint gives Garzón cause to reopen this case and instruct the Attorney General to investigate those responsible for the torture which resulted in the acquittal.
According to the Público account, a similar case in Germany in 2006 that named Bush and Rumsfeld went nowhere; however, Spanish legal authorities are suggesting that the case against the legal team that gave justification to the Guantánamo torture policy is much more concrete and likely to go forward. It is much more realistic, they say, to go after subordinates rather those in positions of the highest authority. Furthermore, the principle of universal jurisdiction is absolute in Spanish jurisprudence, which makes it that much more likely that the case will be heard.
Gonzo Gonzales and his fellow torture-mates may very well be restricting their travel plans in the near future.