The trial against High Court Judge Baltasar Garzón for allegedly overstepping his brief by opening an inquiry into crimes committed by forces loyal to Franco during the civil war and the subsequent dictatorship ended on Tuesday and is ready for judgment.
In the Supreme Court, cheers rang out for Garzón from the public gallery, while crowds had gathered outside with messages of support from citizens and international human rights groups, who have termed the trial “deplorable.”
“A man’s court is his conscience,” Garzón quoted from Kant in his final word. “I can only say my conscience is clear.” Garzón says he opened the inquiry into the disappearance of thousands on the Republican side during and after the 1936-39 conflict purely “in defense of the victims, so that they would not be forgotten.”
The case was brought by a far-right group called Manos Limpias. Its lawyer, Joaquín Ruiz Infante, used his summing-up to charge that Garzón had shelved a case against former Communist leader Santiago Carrillo for a massacre of Nationalist sympathizers at Paracuellos del Jarama “in 24 hours,” showing that Garzón’s investigation displayed a pro-Republican bias.