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Today in legal history...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Thousands protested trial of Spanish judge Garzon
Clay Flaherty at 12:00 AM ET

On April 24, 2010, thousands gathered in cities across Spain to protest the trial of National Court judge Baltasar Garzon on charges that he exceeded his jurisdictional authority during an investigation into alleged war crimes committed during the regime of General Francisco Franco. The protests followed Garzon's appeal of the charges, alleging that the indictment against him was politically motivated. Grazon was charged with abusing his power after he ordered the exhumation of 19 mass graves across Spain for the purpose of assembling a definitive registry of victims from the Spanish Civil War, despite a 1977 law granting amnesty for political crimes committed during Franco's tenure. Garzon has also attracted controversy for using Spain's "universal jurisdiction" to bring high-profile rights cases against the likes of Osama bin Laden and former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Spanish coat of arms

Learn more about Baltasar Garzon and the laws governing universal jurisdiction from the JURIST news archive.

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