Judicial head explains 'shoot to kill' comments

28th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

28 July 2005, MADRID – The head of Spain's judiciary was forced to explain himself after comments backing the UK 'shoot to kill' policy landed him in hot water.

28 July 2005

MADRID – The head of Spain's judiciary was forced to explain himself after comments backing the UK 'shoot to kill' policy landed him in hot water.

On Wednesday, it was reported that the political groups that criticised Francisco José Herando's comments were only partially satisfied with his latest explanation.

Hernando, who heads the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), said late on Tuesday his comments made the previous day at a university summer school – and widely reported in the Spanish media - had been misunderstood.

His words "haven't been adequately understood or perhaps they weren't expressed clearly," he said in a statement.

"I want to express my opposition to the use of whatever methods in the fight against terrorism which don't correspond to the constitutional order."

He went on to back "correct judicial, legal, control, precisely so that this terrorism cannot reach its main goal: the suffocation of democracy".

Hernando released his statement after a meeting of CGPJ in which several members called for him to give a public clarification of his views.

On Monday, Hernando had said he considered Scotland Yard's preparation to shoot some terrorist suspects in some circumstances acceptable, given the extreme situations which arise in wars.

"We are facing World War Three, which is the war against terrorism," he said. "I am naturally against the death penalty. However, when the risk you are trying to avoid is great or could produce the deaths of innocent people, it seems appropriate to avoid that risk."

The comments were criticised by president José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, on his visit to London, as well as by socialists, nationalist groups and judicial organisations.

On Thursday, spokespeople for the PSOE, IU and CiU said they accepted two out of the five points in Hernando's latest statement. To a great extent, while seeking to placate his critics, Hernando reiterated his previous comments.

"In fact, we are facing an exceptional situation, throughout the world, where states are facing terrorist acts of the greatest criminal power," he stated.

"That situation adds complicated factors for political action," he said. "In fractions of a second, police officers have to evaluate the apparent presence of that high risk and protect citizens, their own life and, at the same time, guarantee the rights of the suspected criminal."

He believed there are "states of necessity" which "arise with regularity, but which are now presenting themselves in the crudest and most extreme way."

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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