117048243_7cc6bb0b87Scott Horton of The Daily Best is reporting that, according to sources close to the case, Spanish prosecutors will be going forward with a criminal investigation of six Bush administration officials, including Chapman University School of Law visiting professor John Yoo, over their role in the torture of five Spanish citizens held at Gitmo.

Horton writes:

“Baltasar Garzón Real, the investigating judge, accepted the complaint and referred it to Spanish prosecutors for a view as to whether they would accept the case and press it forward. ‘The evidence provided was more than sufficient to justify a more comprehensive investigation,’ one of the lawyers associated with the prosecution stated.”

The other officials named in the case are Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith; Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, David Addington; Justice Department official Jay S. Bybee; and Pentagon lawyer William Haynes.

So why Spain?

Paul Haven of The Associated Press wrote that Spanish law gives its courts jurisdiction beyond national borders in cases of torture or war crimes, based on a doctrine known as universal justice.

Salon.com’s Glenn Greenwald discusses Spain’s role and legal obligations in further depth in a column published Tuesday:

“Spain not only has the right under the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture to prosecute foreign officials for torturing its citizens, but it — like the U.S. — has the affirmative obligation to do so.”

But he emphasizes that it should have been the U.S. and not Spain that set the example for leading a criminal investigation. Why haven’t we? Well, Mr. Greenwald brings up some very, very interesting tidbits on how U.S. Department of Justice officials named in the Spanish case still have their hands on the wheel of justice here in the States.

Read Greenwald’s column here.

Background

If you’ll recall from previous posts on this topic, Mr. Yoo, who is visiting Chapman Law from U.C. Berkeley’s Boalt Hall, is under fire for authoring memos that legitimized the use of torture, which may or not be released or will be released in a redacted form. You’ll also recall that a movement has developed in the academic communities at Boalt Hall and at Chapman Law calling for the removal of Mr. Yoo as an instructor of law, which may or may not happen. A professor and the dean of Chapman Law debated that very topic in the pages of the Los Angeles Times last week.

Follow the John Yoo saga over at the Fire John Yoo Web site.

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