Chilean judge supports Garzon

21 April 2010 by José Zepeda

Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón is facing prosecution, accused of overreaching his judicial powers when investigating atrocities committed during and after the country’s 1936-39 civil war. Retired Chilean judge Juan Guzmán Tapia, who worked closely with Garzón when prosecuting late Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, speaks of political games.

The charge against Garzón is based on a 1977 Amnesty Law. What do you think of this claim?
It is very clear that neither the 1977 Amnesty law nor statute of limitation can do justice to the terrible crimes related to the Spanish Civil War and the subsequent dictatorship of general Francisco Franco. People don’t like to talk about it, but it was a terrible dictatorship which resulted in a lot of victims.

The massive disappearances, many caused by ideological affiliations, are obviously not eligible for amnesty, nor are they covered by it. This is the norm of international and criminal law.

Have conservative forces in Spain influenced this decision?
Yes, this also happened in Chile. The most conservative forces had an interest in repression, as they were on the ideological side of Pinochet in Chile and on that of Franco in Spain. Generally, these people are opposed to progressive systems and judges, as they are against progressive jurisdiction such as universal jurisdiction.

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