4. Scourge of Pinochet is cleared over Franco case
Scourge of Pinochet is cleared over Franco case
Tuesday 28 February 2012
Baltasar Garzón, Spain's superstar human rights judge known for taking on high-profile international cases, was acquitted yesterday on charges of overstepping his jurisdiction by launching an investigation into right-wing atrocities during and after the Spanish Civil War.
Mr Garzón misinterpreted Spanish law but did not do so knowingly, the Supreme Court justices said in their 6-1 vote and 63-page ruling.
The ruling comes a month after he was barred from the bench for 11 years after being found guilty of similar charges in a separate domestic corruption probe. Mr Garzón has said he may appeal that case.
The case has raised a storm in Spain, where human rights groups and supporters claim Mr Garzón – best known for indicting former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998 – had been targeted by right-wing political and judicial enemies. Crowds gathered to express their support of the judge during the trial, and thousands rallied in Madrid in a protest following his disbarring.