MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s attorney general said on Thursday he would not recommend a court investigation into six former Bush administration officials over torture at Guantanamo Bay, reducing the chances the probe will go ahead.
High Court Judge Baltasar Garzon, who came to world prominence when he issued an arrest warrant for former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, had requested the attorney general’s advice on whether to probe former officials including former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales over torture at the U.S. base in Cuba.
“We cannot support that action,” Candido Conde-Pumpido told journalists, referring to the potential investigation to determine whether the officials provided legal arguments allowing torture to proceed.
“If you investigate the crime of abuse of prisoners, the people probed have to be those who were materially responsible, Conde Pumpido said.
While the recommendation of Conde Pumpido, one of Spain’s most senior legal voices, reduces the chances Garzon will push ahead with the investigation, he could still do so anyway. The attorney general’s office had advised him not to try to extradite Pinochet, but that did not stop him going ahead and almost succeeding.
The complaint was presented by a group of human rights lawyers.
Spanish law allows it to claim jurisdiction in the case because five Spanish citizens or residents who were prisoners at Guantanamo Bay say they were tortured there.
The other Americans named are William Haynes II, former general counsel for the Department of Defense; John Yoo, the former Justice Department lawyer who wrote secret legal opinions saying President George W. Bush had the authority to circumvent the Geneva Conventions; Douglas Feith, former undersecretary of defense for policy; Jay Bybee, Yoo’s former boss at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel; and David Addington, chief of staff and legal adviser to ex-Vice President Dick Cheney.