Spain court assigns new judge to probe US officials who backed Guantanamo

[JURIST] A Spanish court assigned a new judge Thursday to decide whether to prosecute members of the Bush administration behind the establishment of the Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detention center, a court spokesperson told CNN [CNN report]. Eloy Velasco will replace Baltasar Garzon [BBC profile; JURST news archive] in determining whether to seek legal action against former US attorney general Alberto Gonzales and six other Bush administration lawyers who are accused [complaint, PDF in Spanish; JURIST report] of sanctioning torture. Velasco was given the case after Garzon recommended that the provisional case be assigned to an investigating magistrate.

Last week, Spanish prosecutors announced that they would not recommend trying any of the named defendants [JURIST report] because they had not committed acts of torture. 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 to those cases that have a substantial link to the country or its citizens.

 

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