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Spanish ‘super-judge’ cleared to consult in Colombia

posted by Adriaan Alsema

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colombia news - baltasar garzon

High-profile Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon has been authorized to consult the Colombian government, despite there being three cases open against him in his home nation.

Garzon will work with the Organization of American States (OAS) in a mission dedicated to the process of demobilization in Colombia under the 2005 Justice and Peace Law, including the reintegration of former paramilitary members and the reparations to victims.

The General Council of the Judiciary in Spain voted three to two in favor of permitting Garzon to work for one year in the mission, after receiving favorable reports from the Spanish Supreme Court and the OAS’ assertion that he will “not have any immunity that affects the legal situation in Spain.”

Garzon, known variously as a “crusading judge” or “superjuez” (super-judge), achieved fame through several cases pursuing notorious public figures such as Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

The opening of a case in the same vein, targeting Spain’s deceased right-wing leader General Franco’s regime, is what eventually got him suspended from the Spanish courts in May 2010 because there had been an amnesty over Franco’s regime.

Garzon subsequently earned clearance to work for the International Criminal Court (ICC), where he has since been acting as consultant.

The judge also received a welcome appraisal from Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos upon his recent trip to Spain, who labelled him “important” for the nations demobilization process, reported El Espectador.

“We respect Judge Garzon,” the head of state said, despite internal pressure from Colombian Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez, who called the judge a “polarizing ingredient” whose presence is “neither desirable nor advisable.”

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