Spanish Judge to Consider Human Rights Case Against Bush Administration

Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzón, known for his crusades against Osama Bin Laden and the late Gen. Augusto Pinochet, has agreed to consider opening a case against 6 officials in former President George W. Bush's administration. Baltasar Garzón, a judge in Spain's highest court, the Audiencia Nacional, is a long-time critic of the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay.

Judge Garzón requested that a prosecutor examine a complaint brought forth by the Spanish organization Association for Dignity of Inmates, stemming from allegations that the Bush administration officials provided legal cover for torture at Guantánamo. The six former officials facing possible charges are:

  • Attorney General Alberto Gonzales
  • Counsel for the Defense Department William Haynes II
  • Justice Department
    lawyer John Yoo
  • Head of Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, Jay Bybee
  • Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith
  • Chief of staff and legal adviser to Vice
    President Dick Cheney David Addington

The Association for Dignity of Inmates says these men are primarily responsible for creating the policies and legal exceptions that made the
Guantánamo facility a feasible option for detaining suspects. Alberto Gonzales and the Justice Department were instrumental in claiming that those imprisoned at Guantánamo were not protected by the Geneva Conventions. The case is built upon those Conventions and the 1984 Convention Against Torture, which has been adopted by 145 countries, including both Spain and the United States.

Judge Garzón should hear back from the prosecutor by the end of April about whether or not the case has enough merits to move forward and whether Spain has jurisdiction to pursue charges.