Revise and resubmit?

April 22, 2010

In a stunning move, report El País and Público, Supreme Court Justice Luciano Varela, in charge of the case against Baltasar Garzón, has sent back the documents submitted by Falange Española (the Spanish fascist party) and Manos Limpias (an extreme right-wing public-servant union) that lay out the charges against the magistrate, and given the plaintiffs just one day to revise them. According to Justice Varela, whose requests for revision are pointedly specific, the texts submitted by the plaintiffs “very clearly” fail to adhere to the norms for court documents, resorting to “judgments” and “references to personal circumstances” of the accused (that is, Garzón) instead of sticking to a pure “description” of the facts, for instance, and including other extraneous elements, such as the invocation to the Falangists’ right to their “honor.”  Although the time Varela has given the plaintiffs for revision is extraordinarily short, what has surprised public and legal opinion makers is the judge’s decision to give the plaintiffs the opportunity to correct their documents and resubmit their charges at all, rather than following Spanish legal precedent and dismissing the defective documents out of hand. Some pundits suspect that the Spanish Supreme Court may be working to remove the Falange Española from the trial altogether to avoid further international embarrassment. In the past weeks, the Court has come under fire both domestically and internationally for proceeding with the case against Garzón, based on charges brought by political groups that directly (and proudly) associate themselves with the Franco regime, in an attempt to stop the magistrate from investigating as crimes against humanity the assassinations and forced disappearances perpetrated by that same regime.