Tonight the part of Baltasar Garzón will be played by Baltasar Garzón

>> Monday, March 30, 2009

I saw this in the news previously, but didn't realize until today that it was worth posting, and not just because of the recent struggles to come up with writing topics. No, actually it just dawned on me today that this was the kind of thing where maybe some people missed it in the news, or that it's the kind of thing you really need to do a follow-up for.

Back in January, I wrote a post titled, "Mr. Bush, homebound," commenting on the fact that international law might make it difficult for former President George W. Bush to travel if he were accused of war crimes, since other countries might well be obligated to arrest and try him for violations of the Geneva Conventions, particularly if the country in question adopted the doctrine of "universal sovereignty," a legal theory that holds that some offenses are so against humanity in general that they can be tried anywhere, even if the offense took place in some other part of the world and didn't involve citizens of the sovereign. In a footnote to that rant, I mentioned one Baltasar Garzón, a Spanish judge famous for instituting proceedings against former Argentinian barber Augusto Pinochet and attempting to do so again against former Secretary Of State Dr. Henry Kissinger.

The recent new development is that the Spanish courts have begun an investigation to determine whether or not charges of human rights violations can or should be brought against former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former undersecretary of defense for policy Douglas Feith, former Cheney chief-of-staff David Addington, torture-memo authors John Yoo and Jay Bybee, and William Haynes, a former lawyer for the Pentagon. And the Spanish judge who has agreed to appoint prosecutors to conduct this investigation? Baltasar Garzón, yet again. A man who seems to be zealous enough to pursue allegations like these to wherever they might lead.

There's a question as to whether any of these men would be tried even if indictments are returned as a result of the prosecutors' investigation. It's quite possible, for starters, that no country would be bold and crazy enough to extradite any of these men to Spain if they travelled abroad (and it's a given that the United States won't extradite anyone to Spain). Nonetheless, it seems "stay home" is far sounder legal advice than anything Messrs. Yoo or Bybee ever wrote down for their clients. Or, if any of these men were jonesing to visit Spain, they might do it now and quickly before Judge Garzón gets anything back from the investigating prosecutors.

Life may get interesting for the men who instigated America's torture policy for eight years. And not the good kind of interesting, either.

2 comments:

Janiece Murphy Monday, March 30, 2009 at 2:19:00 PM EDT  

Is it wrong that schadenfreude is insinuating itself into my my tiny little soul?

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