And So It Begins
Eric Holder better get his ass in gear if he wants a crack at everyone’s favorite war criminals:
MADRID, (AP) — A Spanish court has agreed to consider opening a criminal case against six former Bush administration officials, including former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, over allegations they gave legal cover for torture at Guantanamo Bay, a lawyer in the case said Saturday.
Human rights lawyers brought the case before leading anti-terror judge Baltasar Garzon, who agreed to send it on to prosecutors to decide whether it had merit, Gonzalo Boye, one of the lawyers who brought the charges, told The Associated Press.
Gonzo can’t get a job, so maybe he could do some jailhouse lawyering once he gets to The Hague.
The ex-Bush officials are Gonzales; former undersecretary of defense for policy Douglas Feith; former Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff David Addington; Justice Department officials John Yoo and Jay S. Bybee; and Pentagon lawyer William Haynes.
E-mail requests for comment left with Yoo and with Feith through his Hudson Institute address, and a phone message left for Yoo, were not immediately returned.
Even if indictments are eventually handed down against the U.S. officials, it is far from clear whether arrests would ever take place. The officials would have to travel outside the United States and to a country willing to take them into custody before possible extradition to Spain.
The officials are charged with providing a legal cover for interrogation methods like waterboarding against terrorism suspects at Guantanamo, which the Spanish human rights lawyers say amounted to torture.
Even if those accused are never tried, it would still make me smile to think of them worrying every time they went abroad.
Boye said he expected the National Court to take the case forward, and dismissed concerns that it would harm bilateral relations between the two countries.
He said that some of the victims of the alleged torture were Spaniards, strengthening the argument for Spanish jurisdiction.
“When you bring a case like this you can’t stop to make political judgments as to how it might affect bilateral relations between countries,” he told the AP.” It’s too important for that.”
Boye noted that the case was brought not against interrogators who might have committed crimes but by the lawyers and other high-placed officials who gave cover for their actions.
“Our case is a denunciation of lawyers, by lawyers, because we don’t believe our profession should be used to help commit such barbarities,” he said.
Another lawyer with detailed knowledge of the case told the AP that Garzon’s decision to consider the charges was “a significant first step.” The lawyer spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
There was no immediate comment from Garzon or the government.