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Spain AG not recommending action against US officials who backed Guantanamo

[JURIST] Spanish Attorney General Candido Conde Pumpido [official profile, in Spanish] announced Thursday that he will not recommend that the Spanish government seek action against members of the Bush administration behind the establishment of the Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detention center. Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] had asked prosecutors to examine [JURIST report] the possibility of bringing a lawsuit against the US lawyers reportedly responsible for the detention center under the theory of universal jurisdiction [AI backgrounder]. Pumpido concluded that the individuals named by Garzon did not commit any acts of torture [AFP report], and thus they should not be the targets of an investigation. Pumpido also expressed concern over the impact that such a trial would have on the Spanish courts.

Garzon, famed for indicting Osama bin Laden and former Latin American dictator Augusto Pinochet [JURIST news archives], is well known for his involvement in high-profile investigations of terror and human rights cases under the universal jurisdiction principle. In February, Spain announced that it is considering legislation to limit [JURIST report] the the scope of universal jurisdiction. If adopted, the Reform of the Judiciary Act would limit the court's jurisdiction over war crimes and genocide charges to those cases that have a substantial link to the country or its citizens. It would require that the suspects be arrested in Spain, and that the crimes be committed against Spaniards or have some historical link to the country.

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