Spain Won’t Prosecute Bush Officials After All
Thursday, April 16, 2009 at 2:47 pm
Despite recent reports to the contrary, Spain’s attorney general has now reportedly decided not to prosecute the Bush Six — the top legal officials in the Bush administration who allegedly approved the torture of terror suspects. Attorney General Candido Conde-Pumpio said that the United States would be the proper forum for such a case.
“If there is a reason to file a complaint against these people, it should be done before local courts with jurisdiction, in other words in the United States,” Conde-Pumpio said in a breakfast meeting with journalists, according to The Associated Press.
Spain could have exercised what’s known as “universal jurisdiction” over the case, but the government was apparently reluctant to do that and risk tensions with the United States.
The possibility of charges, which we’ve reported here, began when human rights lawyers asked Judge Baltasar Garzon, famous for indicting ex-Chilean ruler Augusto Pinochet in 1998, to consider the case. Following Spanish law, the judge then asked prosecutors to recommend whether to pursue the case.
While the case may not move forward in Spain, back in the United States, the memos drafted by some of the same lawyers under scrutiny by Judge Garzon are expected to be released today in a pending court case. The memos reportedly provide the legal justification for the Bush administration’s harsh interrogation techniques that included the CIA’s torture of detainees in secret prisons as part of the “war on terror”. The memos could be used as evidence in any future prosecution of former Bush officials initiated in the United States.
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