A senior Spanish judge has ordered prosecutors to investigate whether key Bush aides should be charged with crimes over the Guantanamo Bay detention center, a lawyer said Sunday.
Investigating magistrate Baltasar Garzon has passed a 98-page complaint to prosecutors that accuses former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and five others of being the legal architects of system that allowed torture in violation of international law, human rights lawyer Gonzalo Boye told CNN. Prosecutors will review the document to determine if a crime has been committed. The prosecutor’s office will make a decision within five days, said Boye, one of the report’s authors. Garzon accepted the complaint under Spanish law because there were several Spaniards at Guantanamo who allegedly suffered torture. The complaint was filed in March 2008 by Boye and the Association for the Rights of Prisoners. It names Gonzales — who was President George W. Bush’s counsel when the Guantanamo Bay detention center was established — and other top Bush administration officials John C. Yoo, Douglas J. Feith, William J. Hayes II, Jay S. Bybee and David S. Addington. A former top aide to Colin Powell, who was secretary of state in the early days of the Bush administration’s “war on terror,” testified before Congress last summer that the six officials “colluded” to develop a legal rationale for allowing detainees to be subjected to harsh treatment. Lawrence Wilkerson was Powell’s chief of staff in President Bush’s first term. Yoo, the author of a memo which critics say authorized torture, also testified before Congress last year. The former deputy assistant attorney general said that his role in the administration had simply been to provide legal advice. “We were functioning as lawyers. We don’t make policy. Policy choices in these matters were up to the National Security Council or the White House or the Department of Defense,” he said.
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Gonzales was Bush’s legal counsel at the time and later became attorney general. Yoo and Bybee were at the Department of Justice, Haynes and Feith worked for the Department of Defense, and Addington was Vice President Dick Cheney’s legal counsel. Addington proved difficult to pin down when he testified under subpoena before a House of Representatives subcommittee June 26 with Yoo, who testified voluntarily but repeatedly refused to answer questions. Addington, by then Cheney’s chief of staff, delivered a flat “No” in answer to a question from New York Democrat Rep. Jerrold Nadler about whether Addington “contributed to the analysis or assisted in the drafting of the August 1, 2002, interrogation memo.” But when Nadler followed up with: “You had nothing to do with that,” Addington again replied: “No. I didn’t say I had nothing to do with it.” Addington never clarified what, if any, his role was. Garzon, Spain’s best-known investigating magistrate, issued the precedent-setting arrest warrant for former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998. The judge has investigated human rights abuses in former military governments in Chile and Argentina, Islamic terrorists operating in Spain, the armed Basque separatist group ETA, as well as major drug traffickers.