"(CNN) -- 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.
Garzon says the case can be brought under Spanish law because several Spaniards were held at Guantanamo."
"...and other top Bush administration officials John C. Yoo, Douglas J. Feith, William J. Hayes II, Jay S. Bybee and David S. Addington."
I wrote about the inevitability of this happening back in January and we had quite a lively discussion about it in the comments.
This is not a matter to be taken lightly.
"Garzon, Spain's best-known investigating magistrate, issued the precedent-setting arrest warrant for former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998."
You may recall that as a result of that indictment, General Pinochet was, in fact, arrested while visiting London.
Although the United States and Spain have had an Extradition Treaty with one another since 1970, I don't expect the United States to hand these folks over for trial, or jail time if found guilty. In fact Article 5, Section A,4 of the treaty gives the accused in this case an out.
"A. Extradition shall not be granted in any of the following circumstances:
4. When the offense in respect of which the extradition is requested is regarded by the requested Party as an offense of a political character, or that Party has substantial grounds for believing that the request for extradition has been made for the purpose of trying or punishing a person for an offense of the above mentioned character. If any question arises as to whether a case comes within the provisions of this subparagraph, the authorities of the Government on which the requisition is made shall decide."
There is the "Get Out Of Jail Free" card. So no, the United States will not be handing these boys over. But someone else sure as hell could.
If the Spanish court finds the defendants guilty, they could issue a European Arrest Warrant.
"The Extradition Act 2003 divides the UK's extradition partners into two categories. Part 1 territories are those EU member states who, like the UK, operate the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) procedure. These are:
Austria; Belgium; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Latvia; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Malta; the Netherlands; Poland; Portugal; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; and Sweden
Part 2 territories include those Members of the Council of Europe who are not in the EU and are party to the European Convention on Extradition; Commonwealth territories; and bilateral extradition treaty partners, such as the United States. These are:
Albania; Andorra; Antigua and Barbuda; Armenia; Argentina; Australia; Azerbaijan; The Bahamas; Bangladesh; Barbados; Belize; Bolivia; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Botswana; Brazil; Brunei; Bulgaria; Canada; Chile; Colombia; Cook Islands; Croatia; Cuba; Dominica; Ecuador; El Salvador; Fiji; The Gambia; Georgia; Ghana; Grenada; Guatemala; Guyana; Haiti; Hong Kong Special Administrative Region *; Iceland; India; Iraq; Israel; Jamaica; Kenya; Kiribati; Lesotho; Liberia; Liechtenstein; the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; Malawi; Malaysia; Maldives; Mauritius; Mexico; Moldova; Monaco; Nauru; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Nigeria; Norway; Panama; Papua New Guinea; Paraguay; Peru; Romania; Russian Federation; Saint Christopher and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; San Marino; Serbia and Montenegro; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Singapore; Solomon Islands; South Africa; Sri Lanka; Swaziland; Switzerland; Tanzania; Thailand; Tonga; Trinidad and Tobago; Turkey; Tuvalu; Uganda; Ukraine; United States of America; Uruguay; Vanuatu; Western Samoa; Zambia and Zimbabwe."
If any of those people were to travel to any of the above countries, they could be arrested, held and transported to Spain for trial or sentencing and there wouldn't be a damn thing the United States could, or should, do to stop it.
In fact, you know what would be funny as hell in this case? Extreme Rendition. One of these countries on that list could form a team of crack commandos to just come into the U.S., snatch those 5 up and hustle them off for trial.
I mean hell, we've done it, so it can't be wrong. We don't break the law. What's to stop 'em?
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.