Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon On Trial Over War Crimes Probe
By SONJA DECHIAN | Published: FEBRUARY 2, 2012
The trial of high-profile Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon started on Tuesday in Madrid. Garzon is being prosecuted for ordering the 2008 investigation into the disappearance of 114,000 people during Spain’s 1936-39 civil war and General Francisco Franco’s subsequent dictatorship. He is charged with exceeding his powers on the grounds that the alleged crimes were covered by a 1977 amnesty.
On Tuesday Garzon argued before the Spanish Supreme Court that the amnesty referred to crimes of the political nature and not crimes against humanity. ‘I did what I thought I had to do, beyond any question of ideology,’ he said.
If convicted Garzon faces a 20-year ban from the legal profession.
Last weekend, thousands of people joined a protest on the streets of Madrid in support of Garzon.