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Spain regressing on human rights, says judge who pursued Pinochet | World news | theguardian.com

Spanish MPs voted on Tuesday to usher in a fast-track reform that would drastically impede judges from investigating crimes outside of Spain's borders.

For nearly two decades, Spanish judges have used the doctrine of universal jurisdiction to investigate human rights abuses in countries including Guatemala, Chad and Argentina.

Most famously, the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was arrested in London in 1998 on the orders of the Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón. Pinochet was eventually returned to Chile for medical reasons, but Garzón's actions were credited with sparking a revolution in international justice.

The reform introduced last month by Spain's governing People's party stipulates that universal jurisdiction will now only be applied when the defendant is a Spanish citizen or a foreign national resident in Spain. The reform is expected to be passed within months, after which interest groups will no longer be allowed to bring cases forward, only public prosecutors.

In an interview in his office in central Madrid, Garzón described the government's reform as absurd. Judges would not be able to investigate foreign crimes against humanity, genocides and war crimes, he said. "The conditions that they're imposing are so exorbitant that it would be almost impossible to prosecute these crimes."

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:42:54 PM EST
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