Spanish democracy needs Garzón

Crusading judge Baltasar Garzón was temporarily suspended by the supreme court in Madrid yesterday. I say temporarily but the truth is that this could be a suspension that lasts for good. Garzón, a champion of human rights law around the world, is the victim of a lawsuit that pits Spain’s old guard judiciary and far-right wing against those who seek to bring old crimes to justice. Spain, it seems, is incapable of accepting nuance in law when it comes to the responsibilities of judges investigating crimes committed here in Spain.

The fact that there’s a clear campaign against Garzón, led by Spain’s right wing, including the PP, makes this case even more dangerous. What’s at stake isn’t just the career of one judge.

The choice for Spain’s supreme court is simple: apply a law imposed by fascists or accept a nuance demanded by democracy.

14 thoughts on “Spanish democracy needs Garzón

  1. Polls show a majority support Garzón being tried for abuse of power, and the same is a logical consequence of constitutional government. So if neither direct nor indirect democracy will give you the result you want, what kind of democracy are you talking about?

  2. Here’s one you’ll like: NC Report is only afaik employed by La Razón and my impression is that they only ask questions to which they think they’re going to get the answer they want. But afaik its electoral opinion polls are reported without adverse comment by La Razón’s enemies. Got any others or criticism of their methodology?

    Your implicit rejection of constitutional government in favour of opinion polls or some other source of legitimacy is interesting. Do you think whatever your alternative is will work better or worse with international law? The question is carefully left unasked in polite circles, but vox populi in bars seemed to be generally of the opinion that the PSOE’s fuck-off bonus for immigrants should have been mandatory. Would you have supported that?

  3. I guess I meant ‘democracy’ in the moral sense rather than the technical. I don’t really give a fig what hopheads in dive bars ‘think’ about immigrants either.

    The courts need to do the right thing (what I say is the right thing) and make the necessary changes that will permit a judge (any judge, it doesn’t have to be Garzón) to investigate crimes against humanity under the dictatorship.

  4. It’s parliament, not courts, that could create a Garzón Statute, enabling him to do whatever he wants. I believe that local magistrates were/are entitled to investigate the disappearances, but afaik none of them have. Bit silly of them: Ian Gibson, Paul Preston and Garzón seem to have done rather well in media terms by doing good.

  5. This opinion poll tells a different story:

    That apart, the question of who does the opinion polls for La Razón is an interesting, and unresolved, mystery. I haven’t been able to find evidence from searching on the web of the independent existence of a company called NC Report. They certainly don’t seem to have a web page under this name. It’s worth remembering that La Razón have previous form on non-transparent opinion polling: as a search on the name “Iberconsulta” will reveal.

  6. Yes, actually the unreliability of opinion polls is a really interesting topic. NC Report does seem to have conducted some polls, other than those paid for by La Razón.

    For example, here are a couple they’ve done for the PP: and

    For El Periodico (allegedly, though I can’t find any mention of NC Report on their own website):

    And for the PP again:

    Perhaps La Razón should be asked for some contact details for their pals NC Report…

  7. Also, isn’t within the power of the courts to rule the original act of amnesty as invalid when considering crimes against humanity? that sounds right to me…

  8. These polls are useless. I did a lot of polls, and I can tell you that I sabotaged every one of them faking the answers.

    I have no sympathy for Garzon. In the early 1990’s he conducted a series of raids in Catalonia against “suspects of terrorism”, in reality a cover for a campaign of political repression. He has finally got what we deserves, although I doubt he will end up in prison. He is hardly a champion of human rights.

  9. If you have cable TV, check latin America television, Cadena Caracol, Telefe, Globo in which you can actually see very recent interviews with Grazón and his opinion of what is happening to him. Rerely seen here.

  10. I will have to disagree with you about the elecciones anticipadas. Doing so now will bring the worse of society even if it is only in retaliation of the cuts and adjustments of Mr Shoemaker. PP would probably win and change nothing because they will always blame Shoemaker for everything. No, I say we leave him finish what he started and support him. But most of all do anything to keep PP away from power. If this happens it would mean that the spanish people are tremendously easy to manipulate and from then on they got us from the groin….

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