Luis Moreno Ocampo, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), has come out in support of beleaguered Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón. He told RNW that he “doesn’t see legitimacy” in Garzón’s indictment for exceeding his authority when investigating crimes committed during the Franco regime that were included in an amnesty.
“I don’t want to make judgments, but I don’t see real charges against him. They’re accusing him of things that don’t look like crimes”, the Argentinean judge told Radio Netherlands Worldwide at his office in The Hague last week.
What he does see, however, is that prosecutors, like Garzón or himself, are always bound to take risks, and that this case “confirms that investigating power is hard”.
“It shows that we, as lawyers, have an enormous responsibility to work to secure these limits”, he added.
If convicted, Garzón could be barred from his duties for up to 20 years. Many international bodies, from newspapers to human rights groups and even the UN, have already voiced their support for the Spanish judge. But the ICC has not yet issued a statement.
“This case is not for the ICC, so officially I can’t say anything”, explained Ocampo, “but of course, it’s a case that I follow very closely, since I’ve known Garzón for more than 20 years. We’ve worked together and I’ve eaten at his house, so I know him pretty well”.
Despite all the controversy about Garzón’s case, the ICC prosecutor has a clear idea of where the Spanish judge would be if it were up to him. “Garzón has all my respect, and I’d love it if he could come help us here.”