COMMENT by Antonio Flores
‘GARZON has fallen down the precipice of ridicule for his defying arrogance and contempt of the Supreme Court.’
The comment by Javier Gomez de Liano, former friend and fellow magistrate of the Audiencia Nacional and coincidentally also struck off for abuse of power, seems to encapsulate the feeling shared by many legal professionals.
The magistrate, once hailed as a fighter for universal human rights, has pursued members of the former military rule in Argentina, indicted Osama bin Laden, investigated alleged abuses at Guantanamo Bay and investigated tax fraud accusations against former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
However, for many he was vain, conceited, ambitious, and ideologically and politically too close to the Spanish left-wing, having served as a Socialist Party MP in 1993.
And while enjoying a second leave, he engaged in notorious extra-curricular activities, charging handsomely as a lecturer at conferences in the U.S, mostly financed by Santander bank, among other companies, which was happy to cough up 1.2 million US dollars to back a magistrate who had the temerity, or cheek, to send his missives on Audiencia Nacional letter-headed paper.
It is probably the excessive inclination to two causes (socialism and money, somewhat incongruously) that tipped the scales against him. And now he is being punished for it.
In the first of three Supreme Court cases, for which he has been suspended till 2023, he illegally wiretapped conversations between remand prisoners and their lawyers in a corruption case involving Mariano Rajoy, leader of the People’s Party (PP).
He was found guilty unanimously by a panel of seven magistrates.
The last case relates to his obsession with resurrecting Franco’s regime and prosecuting his party officials, allegedly exceeding his jurisdiction.
These excesses were confirmed when he requested proof of the dictator’s demise by requesting an original death certificate, and ordered the investigation of alleged fascist massacres, while refusing to deal with killings by the Republicans.
He was however acquitted of these crimes by the Supreme Court on Monday.
And as a final twist, the Law Society in Ecuador has declared him persona non grata by unanimity, and announced they will sue him for embezzlement of funds.
So while one cannot deny he was a brave, bright and innovative judge, for too many this display of utter contempt for the justice that he once dispensed, when in office, was too much to bear in a modern democracy and thus his professional demise comes to prove that nobody, not even Garzon, is above the law.
Contact Antonio at Lawbird Legal Services. Edificio Alfil Floor 4, Ricardo Soriano, 19 – 4B, 29601 Marbella, Malaga (Spain) Phone: +34 952 861890 – [email protected] – www.lawbird.com