Blog: Pinochet

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February 13, 2012

UPDATED POST: Verdict Against Judge Garzón

Posted by Fernando Delgado

UPDATE: Spain’s Supreme Court (Tribunal Supremo) convicted Judge Baltasar Garzón of abuse of authority (prevaricación) in the “Gürtel” case last Thursday in connection with wiretapping ordered during a corruption investigation involving the current ruling party of Spain.  The sentence subjects Garzón to an 11-year ban from the judicial bench. Following the court’s pronouncement, a poll commissioned by leading Spanish daily El País showed a whopping 61% of the Spanish public thought Garzón was being subjected to persecution (“[e]sta siendo objeto de una persecución”), compared with only 36% who felt there were legitimate bases upon which to judge him (“[h]abia motivos suficientes para juzgarle”).

Yesterday, some 2000 protestors gathered in front of the Tribunal Supremo chanting “Shame! Justice!”  Garzón’s legal team raised the possibility of bringing a case before the European Court of Human Rights in light of the Gürtel ruling.

Under Spanish law, Garzón has no right to appeal the Gürtel decision, except on limited constitutional grounds in an amparo filing.  Spain’s failure to provide for a regular appeals process in certain criminal cases has previously been found to be a violation of its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) (see paragraph 47 of General Comment 32 of the United Nations Human Rights Committee).

Today, the Tribunal Supremo dismissed the remaining charges against Garzón in a separate case involving bribery allegations.  The court has yet to rule on the most notorious case of the bunch, in which Garzón is being prosecuted for investigating Franco-era human rights violations.  The same poll commissioned by El País showed 77% of the Spanish public felt Garzón’s investigation of crimes by Franco agents “could not be considered a crime,” (“no puede ser considerado un delito”) contrasted with only 18% who thought Garzón should be convicted in that case as well.

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September 23, 2011

Coming on Monday: A Talk by Judge Baltasar Garzon

Posted by Fernando Delgado

A fascinating figure in the human rights field, Judge Baltasar Garzón will be on campus Monday to speak to the Harvard Law School community.  Starting with his role in the landmark arrest of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in London in 1998, Judge Garzón has been instrumental to the implementation of universal jurisdiction and accountability for crimes against humanity and other grave abuses.

Check out the event notice below:

“International Crimes and Universal Jurisdiction”

A Talk by Judge Baltasar Garzón

12:00-1:15 pm

Pound 213

Light lunch provided

Baltasar Garzón

A hero within the human rights community, Judge Baltasar Garzón is perhaps best known for indicting and issuing an arrest warrant against Gen. Augusto Pinochet, the former dictator of Chile.  But he has also brought cases against Russian mafia leaders; Osama bin Laden; and the former Argentine naval officer Ricardo Miguel Cavallo for genocide and torture committed during the Argentine military’s “dirty war” of the 1970s and 1980s.

Last year, he made international news again, when the Spanish judiciary suspended him for opening an investigation into General Franco’s crimes during the Spanish Civil War.  At the time, Garzón had  been investigating the use of government-authorized and systematic torture in U.S. detention facilities.

Judge Garzón has recently been awarded the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) first annual $100,000 prize for Human Rights Activism.

He will speak in Spanish, with simultaneous interpretation provided.

This event is being co-sponsored by the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, International Legal Studies, HLS Advocates for Human Rights, and the Human Rights Program.  Please RSVP to hrp@law.harvard.edu.


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January 28, 2011

Q & A with Jim Cavallaro, Executive Director of the Human Rights Program

Posted by Cara Solomon

This week marked the start of the spring semester and the third snowstorm of the year.  Right in the thick of it, we welcomed 40 students into the International Human Rights Clinic.  We also started this blog, which will focus mainly on the projects and people associated with the Clinic.

It seemed like a good time to check in with Jim Cavallaro, Executive Director of the Human Rights Program (HRP).  And so we did.

Jim interviews prisoners last semester as part of an ongoing clinical project in Panama

What attracted you to HRP?

When I came in 2002, I had already spent nearly two decades working as a human rights lawyer in Latin America—in Chile during the last years of the Pinochet dictatorship, and then for nearly a decade in Brazil, working on criminal justice issues, transitional justice, racial discrimination, violence against women and indigenous issues.  I had a lot of real world experience, but I hadn’t had the opportunity to step back and reflect, or to put what I had learned to use as a teacher.  HRP gave me the opportunity to continue my work as an activist—my first passion—but also to work closely with students, and to reflect on human rights and the human rights movement.

It’s proven to be the perfect fit for me.  I love the students’ energy and their sense that anything is possible.  To be honest, their commitment and drive has been the engine behind the remarkable growth of the clinic and the program this past decade.

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