Sunday, May 16, 2010

Garzón suspendido

The relationship of national laws with international law is, of course, the knot at the heart of the Garzón affair. Should Spain's 1977 Amnesty Law, which predates the Constitution, stand in the way of international legislation to which Spain is now signatory?

-- Journalist Julius Purcell, in an Atlantic dispatch from Barcelona, Spain, where on Friday Judge Baltasar Garzón was suspended and ordered to stand trial on an accusation related to his decision to investigate Franco-era crimes notwithstanding the national amnesty law. (credit for photo of Garzón, back to camera, and supporters outside courthouse immediately after suspension) Also pending against Garzón (prior posts), best known for his pursuit of Chilean ex-dictator Augusto Pinochet, are 2 other Spanish complaints, according to El Pais. These latter relate, 1st, to surveillance ordered in a corruption case, and 2d, to financing of a course at New York University.
The suspension occurred just 2 days after an International Criminal Court press release containing no mention of the judge's troubles at home confirmed that Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo's asked Garzón to come to The Hague "to work as a consultant for seven months, helping the office improve its investigative methods."
Purcell's Atlantic story -- which includes the answers of Spanish Magistrate Clara Bayarri and Chilean Judge Juan Guzmán to the question posed above -- is rich in detail and nuance. It's thus most welcome by anyone who's trying to sort out this complex story.

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