Spanish Supreme Court accused Judge Baltazar Garzón of breaching the law.
Spain Judge Baltasar Garzon accused of breaching the law
February 5th, 2010.- The Supreme Justice of Spain found solid legal ground to prosecute spanish judge Baltazar Garzón for breach of legal duty or obligation (“prevaricación”), for ignoring the spanish laws. Last year, Garzon declared himself able to investigate the forzed dissapearance of people during the Civil War and the Franco regime.
Last year, Baltasar Garzón appeared before the Supreme Court in Madrid in a case brought by the right-wing group Manos Limpias (Clean Hands), which claims he acted without jurisdiction.
Judge Garzón, best known for indicting Osama bin Laden, sprang to international attention when he ordered the arrest of Augusto Pinochet while the Chilean dictator was in London in 1998.
The judge stands accused of overstepping his authority. The case centres on an investigation into the disappearance of at least 100,000 people during the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s dictatorship. Judge Garzón issued an unprecedented order to exhume from 25 mass graves the bodies of people who were shot by firing squad or murdered on the orders of kangaroo courts.
The judge began the controversial legal action last year at the request of families of the missing. He alleged that the killings of thousands of civilians were carried out systematically by Franco and his political allies. He accused the dictator, 44 army officers and members of the Falange fascist party of crimes against humanity.
But the investigation met with fierce criticism from the conservative opposition Popular Party and the Roman Catholic Church, who said it would only serve to open old wounds.
The public prosecutor’s office appealed, claiming the Judge Garzón would be violating an amnesty agreed by all political parties in the spirit of national reconciliation after Franco’s death in 1975.
The Supreme Court of Spain is giving the reason to the prosecutor who argued that the judge, who sits in the National Criminal Court, was not competent to carry out this investigation. Judge Garzón relinquished the case to lower courts.
Originally, Judge Garzón claimed he could investigate Civil War atrocities because such crimes had no statute of limitations and Spain recognised the principle of universal justice.
The judge denies any wrongdoing.