Posts Tagged ‘european court of human rights’

European court of human rights condemns Macedonia for “extraordinary rendition” to cooperating CIA officials, in Khaled el-Masri case

Friday, December 28th, 2012

News to Note

See

Nicholas Kulish, “Court Finds Rights Violation in C.I.A. Rendition Case,” New York Times, December 13, 2012.

Amrit Singh, “European court of human rights finds against CIA abuse of Khaled el-Masri; America must now apologise to the German citizen, a victim of mistaken identity who was kidnapped and beaten by the CIA,” The Guardian, December 13, 2012.

Richard Norton-Taylor, “CIA ‘tortured and sodomised’ terror suspect, human rights court rules; Landmark European court of human rights judgment says CIA tortured wrongly detained German citizen,” The Guardian, December 13, 2012.

For a detailed description of the judment, see “Macedonian Government responsible for torture, ill-treatment and secret rendition of a man suspected of terrorist ties,” Press Release, issued by the Registrar of the Court, Doc. ECHR 453 (2012) 13.12.2012.

The decision was made by a unanimous vote of the 17-member Grand Chamber of the Court, comprised of the following members:

Nicolas Bratza (United Kingdom), President,
Françoise Tulkens (Belgium),
Josep Casadevall (Andorra),
Dean Spielmann (Luxembourg),
Nina Vajić (Croatia),
Peer Lorenzen (Denmark),
Karel Jungwiert (Czech Republic),
Khanlar Hajiyev (Azerbaijan),
Isabelle Berro-Lefèvre (Monaco),
Luis López Guerra (Spain),
Ledi Bianku (Albania),
Işıl Karakaş (Turkey),
Vincent A. de Gaetano (Malta),
Julia Laffranque (Estonia),
Linos-Alexandre Sicilianos (Greece),
Erik Møse (Norway),
Helen Keller (Switzerland)

Commentary

Whoever President Obama’s nominee to be Director of the CIA may turn out to be, the first question in his or confirmation hearings should be to explain the international law underpinnings of this decision, and their implications for extraordinary renditions, torture, and the use of drones under current U.S. policy.

Obama and U.S. intelligence officials, including John Brennan and others in the White House don’t “get” international law.

The confirmation hearings should make sure that they do. International law is the language of international relations in the world today, not 17th century “just war theory” as Brennan, the President and other national security officials would have us believe.

Any nominee to be the head of the CIA sould know every detail of this case by heart, and be able to explain it to any member of the Senate. Obviously, it will also be important to know precisely what the involvement of the nominee, if any, has been in cases of extraordinary rendition, torture, and the use of kill lists and drones to conduct extrajudicial executions, both inside and outside the theater of the war in Afganistan

The Trenchant Onserver

Garzón convicted by Supreme Court in Gürtel wiretap case

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzón has been found guilty of prevaricación in the Gürtel wiretapping case, for willfully and knowingly violating the law by ordering the interception of conversations between the Gürtel defendants and lawyers who visited them in jail.

The sentence of 11 years disqualification from any judicial or comparable office will end Garzón’s career at the Audiencia Nacional in Spain.

The Supreme Court’s conviction of Garzon for prevaricación (willful decision against justice, i.e., to violate the law) in the Gürtel case appears to rest, at bottom, on a finding that there was no evidence against the specific lawyers whose conversations with defendants in jail were intercepted as a result of Garzon’s orders approving the wiretapping.  His orders were in fact issued before some of the lawyers were selected.

Garzón argued that those orders were issued on the basis of suspicions the police, the prosecutors and ultimately he, the investigating judge, had that the Gürtel defendants were using their lawyers to continue committing crimes including money laundering, from jail.

The court found no evidence of criminal behavior in the record to justify those suspicions against the specific lawyers named in the private action.  Earlier, the court had refused to admit evidence proposed by Garzón.

See Tribuanl Suprema, Sala de lo Penal, “Sentencia No. 79/2012,” Causa Especial No. 20716/2009, 09/02/12.

For full reporting on and reactions to the case, see El País, 9 de febrero de 2019.

After taking two years to process the case, and then rushing to make sure it was heard before the “historical memory” case which has just concluded and is awaiting judgment, the Supreme Court produced an intricate and tightly reasoned opinion in 17 working days after the conclusion of the final hearing on January 19–an extraordinary feat given the exhaustive references to the Court’s case law contained in the judgment.

One crucial fact is that the Public Prosecutor’s Office (la Fiscalía) supported Garzón’s positions throughout the case. This fact is hard to square with the Court’s conclusion that no reasonable legal interpretation could support Garzón’s order to initiate the wiretaps, as is the fact that another judge subsequently reached the same conclusion as Garzón when he extended the wiretaps.

Lawyers, law professors, and journalists will now pore over the court’s opinion, and much critical analysis will follow.

A key factual issue which the Court resolved, without hearing all of Garzon’s proffered evidence, was whether there were reasonable indicia of continuing criminal activity by the Gürtel defendants and their lawyers, operating from jail. The court’s argument that the evidence had to be against specific lawyers, when some of them had not yet been selected, raises questions.

An important legal issue is whether Garzón reached the correct decision in ordering the wiretaps. If he did not–and a panel held earlier that his decision should be overturned–he would be guilty of making a judicial error. In itself, that is not a career-ending offense.

Signficantly, as noted above,  the wiretaps were ordered to be extended twice, by at least one other judge, after Garzón’s involvement in the case ended. Whether the other judge will now be charged with prevaricación is unknown.

The critical legal and factual issue on which the case ultimately turned was whether Garzón willfully decided to order the wiretaps, knowing that there was no reasonable legal interpretation which could justify his decision. The Supreme Court found that there was no such interpretation, and that Garzón knowingly decided to act against the law.

These issues will remain hotly disputed, as Garzón appeals his conviction, possibly to the Constitutional Court in Spain, and ultimately to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The Trenchant Observer

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For earlier articles on the Garzón case, please use the Search Box on the main page which, if you are not already there, can be accessed by clicking on “The Trenchant Observer” at the top of this page.  Articles have been published in both English and Spanish.

Los casos contra Garzón: Las cuestiones prévias en el caso de la memoria histórica

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

En la sesión de hoy, 24 de enero, el Tribunal Supremo escuchó los argumentos de la fiscalía, la defensa, e de los querrellantes en torno a las cuestiones prévias, que se deben dilucidarse antes de entrar en el fondo del juicio contra Baltasar Garzón por prevaricación relacionado con “el caso de la memoria histórica”.

Dos de las cuestiones prévias podrían llevar al sobreseimiento de este caso. La primera es la acusación de que Luciano Varela, el juez quien instruyó la causa, violó las más básicas normas de la imparcialidad judicial cuando en lugar de rechazar una demanda viciada e incompleta, ayudó a los querellantes corregir sus defectos. Los detalles alegados de como lo hizo parecen ser escandalosos.

La segunda cuestión prévia se gira alrededor de la doctrina Botín del mismo Tribunal Suprema, segón la cual el Tribunal no debe conocer una causa que no cuenta con el apoyo de la fiscalía.

Al oír los argumentos, el Tribunal Supremo suspendió el proceso por una semana mientras llegue a las decisiones correspondientes sobre las cuestiones prévias. De aceptar cualquiera de las dos, el caso se clausurá, dejando a Garzón a la espera de la decisión del Tribunal Supremo en el caso de “las escuchas Gürtel”.

Para los últimos reportajes, véase, por ejemplo:

Julio M. Lázaro, “El fiscal y Garzón exigen la nulidad de la “insólita” instrucción de Varela: Durísimo informe de la fiscalía contra la acusación admitida a Manos Limpias,” El País, 24 de enero de 2012.

Lázaro cita al fiscal Luís Navajas, quien declaró lo siguiente:

“En mis 36 años como fiscal, jamás había visto una resolución parecida, ni en el fondo ni en la forma”, dijo sobre las indicaciones de Varela. Para el fiscal, fue una decisión “absolutamente insólita e insostenible” y la consecuencia fue “transmutar una acusación que no se sostenía” y sobre la que el juez del Supremo coadyuvó “a reconstruir lo que era absolutamente irreconstruíble”.

Véase tambíen,

N. Villanueva, “El fiscal defiende a Garzón y pide que la «memoria histórica» se zanje sin juicio: Arremete contra el instructor, Luciano Varela, por sentar al juez en el banquillo: algo «insólito e insostenible»,” ABC.es, 25 de enero de 2012.

Un comentario por Luis García Montero–quien es poeta, no jurista–sobre el significado más amplio de los casos contra Garzón, que él compara al caso Dreyfuss en Francia al fines del siglo 19, habla de la extrema partidarización de las justicia en España. Además comenta:

Hay situaciones que simbolizan el malestar de una época y, más allá de su significado particular, ponen el dedo en la llaga de un momento histórico. Así ocurrió a finales del sigo XIX con el juicio seguido en Francia contra el capitán Alfred Dreyfus. La falsa acusación de espionaje y la condena a la isla del Diablo tuvo el apoyo decidido del nacionalismo violento y los poderes antisemitas, pero provocó la indignación de una parte de la sociedad, el sector más democrático y concienciado. El caso Dreyfus resumía las contradicciones y las mentiras de la Tercera República francesa.

Ocurrió lo mismo con los debates provocados en España a partir de 1921 por el Desastre de Annual. La tragedia y su polémica pusieron al descubierto no ya las corrupciones dentro de la monarquía de Alfonso XIII, sino la corrupción misma de un régimen fundado en la manipulación de la voluntad popular y en la distancia entre la España oficial y la España real.

Los juicios contra Baltasar Garzón representan un acontecimiento parecido….
….
Aquí no se discute si Baltasar Garzón es simpático o antipático, si resolvió bien o mal en un caso del pasado o si nos parecen oportunos los jueces estrella. Se discute si actuó como prevaricador en las instrucciones del caso Gürtel o en la causa contra los crímenes del franquismo. La opinión de numerosos juristas nacionales e internacionales defiende las interpretaciones del juez Garzón. Esa es la prueba evidente de que no existe delito de prevaricación, sino una forma posible de interpretar la ley.

¿Qué ocurre entonces? El Poder Judicial español descansa en la misma inercia bipartidista que el juego político. No participar de la disciplina de los unos o los otros, como caras de un sistema de control, significa quedarse a la intemperie. El bipartidismo –yo coloco a los míos y tú a los tuyos– ha generado familias de poder que se autoalimentan y actúan de acuerdo con sus rencores profesionales.

Aunque la Fiscalía y los mandos policiales avalan sus actuaciones contra una trama vergonzosa de corruptos, Baltasar Garzón parece condenado. El descrédito nacional e internacional de la Justicia española es un síntoma. Vivimos en un reino degradado, con una memoria y unas instituciones degradadas. La prevaricación es nuestra propia realidad. Somos una mentira. Damos risa.

–Luis García Montero, “Dreyfus, Annual y Garzón,” Blog “La realidad y el sueño”, Público.es (blogs), 22 de enero de 2012.

El Observador Incisivo
(The Trenchant Observer)

observer@trenchantobserver.com
www.twitter.com/trenchantobserv

Véase otros artículos de Observador Incisivo sobre el Caso Garzón, entre ellos los siguientes:

The legal essence of the cases of “prevaricación” against Baltasar Garzón
January 20, 2012

Complaint before U.N. Special Rapporteur alleges U.S. judicial interference in Garzón torture cases in Spain
January 19, 2012

The Baltasar Garzón Case: In Spain, justice itself is on trial
January 17, 2012

¡Que pena para España! Los casos contra Garzón llegan al juicio
16 de enero de 2012

Tribunal Supremo de Justicia rechaza apelación de Garzón para ordenar pruebas; quedan pendientes otros recursos
21 de setiembre de 2010