UN Rapporteur finds Spain failed to comply with international law following former judge Baltasar Garzón trial

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A UN Human Rights Committee on Follow-Up Rapporteur published Friday findings that Spain failed implement a landmark United Nations Human Rights Council decision in the Baltasar Garzon against Spain Case.

The Report was sent directly Garzon’s International Legal Representative, Helen Duffy of Human Rights in Practice. Human Rights in Practice issued a statement on the report claiming:

… that it is clear that Spain failed to implement the UN Committee’s 2021 decision in Garzon V Spain Case. […] The Spanish government’s failure in providing any meaningful response to the UN Committee is an affront both to Spain’s obligations under international law, as set out by the ICCPR, and the authority of UN Committee. Ultimately, the UN sought that, in response, Spain should make full reparation to Garzon and required the Spanish government to report on the steps they had taken to address this issue within 180 days.

However, two years later, Spain responded to the UNHRC, noting that no meaningful steps had been taken in this regard. Human Rights in Practice stated that international law requires states to offer reparation, which includes restitution and compensation, as well as “guarantees against repetition” in order to prevent such cases from recurring in the future. In a case such as this, this includes payment of damages, the “expungement” of unjustified criminal records and undertaking the legal and judicial reform which is necessary to safeguard judicial independence.

Garzon has not been reinstated as a member of the judiciary and has not had his criminal record cleared. As a result, as reported by Duffy and Human Rights in Practice, the UN Committee issued a “condemnatory resolution” which found that on compensation and expungement of criminal records, the Spanish government’s response is “unsatisfactory” because

it is not relevant or does not implement the recommendation.” The findings are more apparent regarding the broader measures needed to ensure non-repetition as the state’s response goes against or rejectsthe UN body’s recommendation.