Judge Baltasar Garzón called for citizens responsibility in security policies.
Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón is now working as adviser for the Mission to Support the Peace Process established by the OAS. Photograph Credit to Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images
During a lecture under the XXIX Interdisciplinary Course on Human Rights which concluded on August 19th at the American Institute of Human Rights in Costa Rica, the Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzón said that governments foster instability among citizens when politicians elaborate security policies without consulting the people. Garzón called upon the american states to include the opinions and needs of more people, common citizens, in the elaboration of security policies.
For the lawyer and advisor to the International Court in Hague, the authorities act in secret and assume that regular people do “not understand” their policy decisions.
Garzón thinks that “Citizens must participate in the design of those aspects or rules that affect them.”
For the jurist, one of his major concerns is that some governments postulate the safety of citizens, but continue to violate basic human rights.
Garzon gained worldwide fame for promoting an arrest warrant against former dictator Augusto Pinochet for the death and torture of Spanish citizens during his dictatorship. He also accused Pinochet of commiting crimes against humanity. Garzón has niow been suspended in Spain, due to his initiative to investigate the human rights situation during the Franco regime.
“What is the role of victims in the fight against organized crime,” he asked yesterday at the Institute headquarters in Los Yoses, San Pedro, Montes de Oca. “Normally, no government takes into account what the victims claims during the design of security policies ,” the judge responded to an audience that included senior officials and security minister, Mario Zamora, and the president of the Supreme Court Justice Luis Paulino Mora.
Garzón said that “we need citizen involvement to define the security agenda so that everything does not become a critique of the government in power because in the end is a matter of coresponsibility.”
During his speech of nearly an hour, Garzon said he was alarmed by the levels of “very serious” violence that plague countries like Mexico and Colombia in the fight against drug trafficking. He said that violence has led criminal groups to bring their operations in the Isthmus, especially in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
In this regard, he considered that they are wrong who believe that the attacks by organized crime reach only members of rival groups in fight among themselves for power quotas or zones of influence. “Anyone who thinks this makes a big mistake,” said Garzón.