Update: April 16, 2009; added video and story
April 14, 2009 CNN
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Chill the Champagne
The Bush Six to Be Indicted
By Scott Horton
April 14, 2009 “Daily Beast”
Spanish prosecutors will seek criminal charges against Alberto Gonzales and five high-ranking Bush administration officials for sanctioning torture at Guantánamo.
Spanish prosecutors have decided to press forward with a criminal investigation targeting former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and five top associates over their role in the torture of five Spanish citizens held at Guantánamo, several reliable sources close to the investigation have told The Daily Beast. Their decision is expected to be announced on Tuesday before the Spanish central criminal court, the Audencia Nacional, in Madrid. But the decision is likely to raise concerns with the human-rights community on other points: They will seek to have the case referred to a different judge.
Both Washington and Madrid appear determined not to allow the pending criminal investigation to get in the way of improved relations.
The six defendants—in addition to Gonzales, Federal Appeals Court Judge and former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, University of California law professor and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo, former Defense Department general counsel and current Chevron lawyer William J. Haynes II, Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff David Addington, and former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith—are accused of having given the green light to the torture and mistreatment of prisoners held in U.S. detention in “the war on terror.” The case arises in the context of a pending proceeding before the court involving terrorism charges against five Spaniards formerly held at Guantánamo. A group of human-rights lawyers originally filed a criminal complaint asking the court to look at the possibility of charges against the six American lawyers. Baltasar Garzón Real, the investigating judge, accepted the complaint and referred it to Spanish prosecutors for a view as to whether they would accept the case and press it forward. “The evidence provided was more than sufficient to justify a more comprehensive investigation,” one of the lawyers associated with the prosecution stated.
Differing Views of the “Rule of Law” in Spain and the U.S.
By Glenn Greenwald
April 14, 2009 “Salon”
Scott Horton reports this morning that, in Spain, “prosecutors have decided to press forward with a criminal investigation targeting former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and five top associates [John Yoo, Jay Bybee, David Addington, Doug Feith and William Haynes] over their role in the torture of five Spanish citizens held at Guantánamo.” Spain not only has the right under the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture to prosecute foreign officials for torturing its citizens, but it — like the U.S. — has the affirmative obligation to do so. (Indeed, the Bush administration itself insisted just last year that the U.S. the right to criminally prosecute foreign officials for ordering acts of torture even in the absence of an accusation that any of the victims were American).
As Hilzoy argues, however, the primary obligation for these prosecutions lies with the country whose officials authorized the war crimes — the United States:
It is a requirement of law, the law that the Constitution requires Obama, as President, to faithfully execute. He should not outsource his Constitutional obligations to Spain.
That the U.S. has the legal obligation under the U.S. Constitution, our own laws and international treaties to commence criminal investigations is simply undeniable. That is just a fact. Yet it’s hard to overstate how far away we are from fulfilling our legal obligations to impose accountability on our own torturers and war criminals.
Spain Will NOT Pursue Torture Prosecution Against Bush White House!
April 16, 2009 CNN
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Spain rejects US ‘torture’ probe
16 April 2009 13:23 UK
Spain’s attorney general has rejected an attempt to bring a criminal case against six former US officials over torture allegations at Guantanamo Bay.
The officials, including former US attorney general Alberto Gonzalez, were accused of giving a legal justification for torture at the US detention centre.
But Candido Conde-Pumpido said the case had “no merit” as they were not present when the alleged abuse took place.
Spanish courts can prosecute people for crimes committed outside Spain.
Using the principle of “universal justice”, they have also investigated alleged crimes in Argentina, Tibet, El Salvador and Rwanda.