Spanish judge Garzon allowed to work for international court

18th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

The body that oversees Spain's judiciary on Tuesday approved a request by crusading judge Baltasar Garzon, suspended last week for alleged abuse of power, to work for the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

The five-member panel of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) voted by a margin of three to two to grant Garzon leave of absence to work as an adviser for the ICC for seven months because it found no "legal reasons" to oppose the request, a spokeswoman for the body told reporters.

The same body on Friday suspended Garzon from the bench at the National Court ahead of his trial for abuse of power for opening a probe into the disappearance of tens of thousands of people during Spain's 1936-39 civil war and General Francisco Franco's subsequent right-wing dictatorship.

The case follows a complaint by far-right groups that the probe ignored an amnesty law passed in 1977, two years after Franco's death, for crimes committed under the general's rule.

Garzon has argued that the disappearances constituted crimes against humanity and were therefore not covered by the amnesty.

Last week the Supreme Court removed the last obstacle to his trial over the case, although no date has been set.

If convicted he would avoid prison but could be suspended for up to 20 years, which would effectively end the career of the 54-year-old.

© 2010 AFP

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