The Daily Beast’s Scott Horton reports that a judge in Spain decided today that an investigation of Bush officials involved in torture policy will go forward and can lead to prosecution.
In a ruling in Madrid today, Judge Baltasar Garzón has announced that an inquiry into the Bush administration’s torture policymakers now will proceed to a formal criminal investigation. The ruling came as a jolt following the recommendation of Spanish Attorney General Cándido Conde-Pumpido against proceeding with a criminal inquiry, which was reported in The Daily Beast on April 16.
Judge Garzón previously initiated and handled investigations involving Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, Argentine “Dirty War” strategist Adolfo Scilingo and Guatemalan strongman José Efraín Ríos Montt, often over the objections of the Spanish attorney general. His case against Pinochet gained international attention when the Chilean general was apprehended in England on a Spanish arrest warrant. Scilingo was extradited to Spain and is now serving a sentence of 30 years for his role in the torture and murder of some 30 people, several of whom were Spanish citizens.
Garzón’s ruling today marks a decision to begin a formal criminal inquiry into the allegations of torture and inhumane treatment he has been collecting for several years now.
Now, Garzón has announced a preliminary criminal inquiry into the Bush administration torture policy, specifying the evidence that a crime had been perpetrated against Spanish subjects, but not yet specifying the specific targets of the investigation. Judge Garzón’s decision revealed a deep engagement with documents which had been released in Washington in the last two weeks, particularly a group of memoranda prepared by lawyers in the Bush Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, a report of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and a memo released by the Senate Intelligence Committee, making it likely that he would focus on the authors of the torture memoranda and other lawyers who worked with them.