Posted by: puebloman | April 3, 2010


ABC has a large front page photo of the National Court Judge, with the headline – ‘The accused bench is waiting’. The paper says the Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal made by the judge and opened the door to him being charged for perversion of the course of justice.
El País has the dramatic headline ‘The Supreme Court backs the Falange and puts Garzón on the accused bench’. It notes that the magistrate has said that he will show his innocence. El País also has an editorial today entitled ‘The Falange win’.
El Mundo says that two courts are now following the alleged crimes of the judge, with the Supreme Court investigating his look at the deaths during the Franco years, and the Madrid high Court declaring his recordings of lawyers in the Gürtel case as null and void.
ABC also notes that the Madrid High Court has now declared all the prison recordings ordered by the magistrate in the Gürtel case as null and void, and La Razón adds that the court compared the judge’s methods to ‘torture and the inquisition’.
La Razón headlines ‘The fall of Garzón’ and says the Supreme Court has put his back to the wall and opened the door for his suspension, for investigating the Franco years.

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  1. Whist every country needs its Garzons he should not be above the law. If the law is wrong, parliaments change it. If the judges are biased its not that different from the Supreme Court in the USA.

    There is a tendency among those in high places to think they are beyond the law or ‘that bit shouldn’t apply to me!!’

    Conversations bewteen lawyers and their clients are priveleged and, on that, the court is right to not allow such as evidence.

    Garzon will survive and will continue to stir things up that need stirring but hes not the Pope!

    Of course he is beyond any secular law and, me thinks, beyond criticism!!! hmmm


    • Garzon knows as well as you and I that no one is above the law. His entire career demonstrates a commitment to that principal. I don’t believe that either the Pope or Garzon are above the law or that either are infallible.

      Two ultra-right wing groups, Manos Limpios (clean hands) and Franco’s old party, the now virtually extinct Falangists, have brought a writ against Garzon for exceeding his authority. He is supposed to have done this by challenging the memory of Franco and ignoring a post-Franco amnesty law, by threatening to investigate the him for crimes against humanity.

      This whole case demonstrates the problem of the political appointment of judges. It muddies the separation of powers between goverment the legistature and the judiciary and it exposes, in my opinion, weakness in the Spanish constitution.

      The ‘cases’ against Garzon have resulted in his suspension from the bench and have hobbled his investigation into sleazy corruption in the right wing PP, the so called Gurtel case.

      Judges like Garzon give judgement, but are also obliged to give their reasons for judgement. In a modern liberal democracy, which functions through the rule of law, the correct way to destroy a judgement is to attack it by counter argument, and the way to do this is via the Court of Appeal. Judges who consistently lose at appeal are soon discredited.

      The Spanish high court, by allowing dodgy cobbled together counter accusations to gain the weight of “cases to answer” demonstrates its old Falangist credentials as it joins with the accusers, the new Falangists. Its actions make Spain look like a banana republic, and bring her legal system into disrepute.

      Obviously Garzon will survive this. The survival of Spain as a modern democratic state under the rule of law, however, is a more delicate issue.


  2. Don’t get me wrong – I admire Garzon BUT he knows the law and the system. If he is prepared to take the consequence of his actions , good on him. In doing so he will expose further the weaknesses in the system. BUT he did declare himself ‘competent’ to do an investigation he may have not been competent to investigate. This is not to say he was morally wrong and perhaps he is pushing the envelope knowingly.
    I still not happy at his alledged attempt to use recordings on lawyer/ accused conversations – I don’t think this is morally right.

    The political nature of the judicary is, indeed, a worry. It isn’t just PP but locally (Andalucia/Almeria) stranage judgements come from judges appointed by PSOE administrations.

    I also understand that country wide more PSOE mayors are under investigation than PP mayors + of course PAL in El Ejido.

    I think we are on the same side but I think you act within a framework but argue to change it!



    • Yes Andrew I agree with you. Garzon walks on the mark and sometimes oversteps it. Spain is a fascinating and vibrant democracy precisely because it is still emerging from the fourty year darkness of the Franco dictatorship, fourty five years after it was supposed to have ended, and participatory politics is still being shaped. This involves conflict and risk taking by the leaders of modern Spain. I don’t see much potential for this sort of leadership on the Spanish political right, and I don’t personally have the slightest respect for those who want us to believe that Franco made the trains run on time and that Spanish people are “ungovernable”. I hope their views will be democractically consigned to the dustbin. But that’s just me!
      As you suggest, power certainly corrupts – and it doesn’t matter what political party you belong to.


  3. At a local level democracy is wobbly – I hear people say that I don’t like the major but if I vote against him they will know and I might lose out. This cancels out nationally.

    Yes, Spain’s democracy is still vunerable – note the increase in PPs numbers in the polls despite the implication that some of their national figures had their back pockets stuffed. My Italian friends say the same. The tolerance of corruption is a hang over from dictatorship – most dictatorships manage their society by tolerating influence over competence hence the value of bribes.

    A last word on Garzon – what ever happens he will have kept the stupidity of ‘historical memory’ on the front page and many Spanish families will get some closure in the next few years .


    • What?? Historical memory stupid? – are you stupid? Do you really believe that pretending something didn’t happen will allow “many Spanish families” to get “closure”? Perhaps you prefer the “pact of fogetting” that dictatorship politicians cobbled together with democratic parties after Franco’s death to ensure that old fascists could enjoy a wealthy old age and die in peace in spite of their crimes. Forgetting doesn’t creata closure either in states or in individuals. As an admirer of the law and due process I’m surprised you are now so keen to cover it up. But only slightly surprised. South African truth and reconciliation is the model, but perhaps you think that’s stupid too?


  4. BAD PHRASING – What I meant was Garzon is keeping the subject on the front pages and that the law of historical memory is a hinderance to getting at the truth.

    So, on this I’m 100% with you.

    I must read carefully what I write !!!!


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