Friday, March 12, 2010


Earlier this week I wrote a news item on Spain’s campaign judge, Baltsar Garzón. I reported how last weekend in Granada premier José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero had praised his work against ETA terrorism but said it would be inappropriate for him to comment on the current deliberations against Garzón in the Supreme Court.

Also on Saturday an event was held in Jaén to show its support for Garzón at which Gaspar Zarrías was present. The socialist secretary for political autonomy and institutional relations joined intellectuals and artists to defend the judge before the “assault of inhumanity and immorality”. Those present argued that these actions against him put in to crisis the state of the law and judicial independence in Spain.

His plight has been reported on in newspapers around the world including The Financial Times and Los Angeles Times. Now I have received an email from Avaaz which I am happy to reprint in full:

“Right now the Supreme Court is considering stripping Judge Baltasar Garzón of his license.

“Garzón is famous for fearlessly pursuing crimes against humanity abroad. But when he chose to investigate Spain's past atrocities and recent corruption scandals, legal actions and a political campaign were launched to destroy him and bury the truth.

“Garzón is accused of violating the 1977 amnesty law, but legal experts say international law is clear: crimes against humanity cannot be amnestied. The Supreme Court now faces a historic choice: uphold the rule of law and their constitutional responsibility, or allow ideology and impunity over justice.

“This fight will be won or lost in the court of public opinion. The Supreme Court is under with 1 million of us standing up for democracy and universal human rights.

“Whatever we think of Garzón, he has gained a reputation for his relentless efforts to seek justice, pursue brutal dictators, terrorists, drug mafias and corrupt politicians.

“But the Supreme Court has admitted three complaints against him, two of which could impact on two crucial investigations for our democracy: the case of crimes against humanity, and the Gürtel case, one of the largest bribery and corruption scandals in our recent history.

“The crimes against humanity case is straight forward - these crimes are of such gravity that international law does not permit accused perpetrators to hide behind national amnesty laws, even if this law played a role at the time of our political transition.

“If the court removes Garzón's license it will be undermining their commitment to universal human rights and with it our faith in the judicial system. “This petition is about all of us, beyond our political or party allegiances, defending our democracy, which is already weakened by an acute economic and political crisis and a plague of corruption. Only through bold citizens' actions can we ensure that our political leaders and institutions work for the common good.”

1 comment:

PROSPERO said...

After 40 years of Fascist dictatorship, the separation of Church and State in Spain is still a very gray area.

Let's not forget, either, that Garzón was briefly a Minister in a PSOE government, and that the nation's Supreme Court judges are political appointees (they have similar 'separation' problems in the USA).

I have gladly signed the petition and I hope your readers -or those with some common sense- will do so, too.