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Prominent Rights Judge Is Convicted in Spain

By RAPHAEL MINDER and MARLISE SIMONS. The New York Times: February 9, 2012

Tuesday 14 February 2012, by Carlos San Juan


Supreme Court on Thursday convicted the crusading human rights judge Baltasar Garzón of illegally ordering wiretapping in a corruption case and suspended him from the courts for 11 years. (...)

The Spanish prosecutor’s office has actively opposed both trials, saying there were no grounds for a criminal case. During the trial, it called for the charges to be dismissed because they had no basis in law.

Philippe Sands, who teaches international law at University College in London, expressed concern over the process.

“This is very troubling; targeting an independent judge or prosecutor through the criminal justice system anywhere raises very serious concerns,” he said. “To sanction a possible breach of ethics or misconduct is up to the professional organizations. To bring down the criminal justice system on an investigative judge for an alleged fault is to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut. It’s almost unique in Europe.”

His defenders, including international lawyers, judges, academics and human rights groups, have called the cases — including an investigation into whether he had an improper financial relationship with Santander Bank — politically motivated. On Thursday, many denounced the ruling.

Reed Brody, counsel for Human Rights Watch who has been monitoring the trials, said the “accumulation of the cases against Judge Garzón” suggested “reprisal for his past actions against vested interests.”

“Unfortunately,” he added, “it certainly looks like his enemies now got what they wanted.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/10/world/europe/baltasar-garzon-prominent-rights-judge-convicted-in-spain.html

Supreme Court on Thursday convicted the crusading human rights judge Baltasar Garzón of illegally ordering wiretapping in a corruption case and suspended him from the courts for 11 years.


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