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Edition 2018

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Baltasar Garzón - Judge and Human Rights Lawyer

Baltasar Garzón

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Baltasar Garzón, born in Spain in 1955, is a judge, famous for his high-profile investigations into crimes against humanity. 

As a judge-magistrate for the National Court, Garzón was responsible for investigating cases involving drug trafficking and terrorism. 

Garzón entered the international spotlight when, in 1998, he sough the extradition to Spain of Augusto Pinochet in order to try the former Chilean dictator for human rights abuse. Garzón was acting under the controversial legal principle of universal jurisdiction, whereby courts in one country may judge grave human rights crimes committed outside that country, regardless of the nationality of the accused. He later invoked universal jurisdiction in several other high-profile cases, including the indictments of several former Argentine officials, for human rights violations , Osama bin Laden  and a number of former members of the George W. Bush administration for allegedly allowing torture at Guantánamo Bay. 

He played an important role in Spain’s crackdown on ETA, and in 2008 he opened an investigation into the disappearance of more than 100,000 people during the Spanish Civil War.

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