As a Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón has erupted into public consciousness when in 1998 he issued an arrest warrant against former Chilean dictator Pinochet. Subsequently one of the most committed judges/ lawyers he has also been involved in legal controversies surrounding the exhumations of mass graves of civil war era republicans in Spain and in representing Julian Assange. Garzón will discuss the political implications of his legal work and political response to it.
Baltasar Garzón initiated a large number of precedent-setting cases as an investigating Magistrate for criminal offenses on the Audiencia Nacional, Spain’s central criminal court. He prosecuted perpetrators of Basque and paramilitary terrorism and corruption in Spain, but caused an international furor by issuing an arrest warrant in 1998 against former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet for the torture and killings of Spanish citizens under his rule. In 2008 Garzón triggered controversy when he ordered the exhumation of Republican victims of the Spanish Civil War in connection with legal proceedings against policymakers of the Franco dictatorship. For his political commitment, he has received honors including the 2009 Hermann Kesten Award of the German PEN Center. In 2010 he served as an external Consultant to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Today Garzón teaches criminal law at Complutense University of Madrid and is currently the legal adviser to Julian Assange. He is the founder and President of Fundación Internacional Baltasar Garzón (FIBGAR), which has offices in four countries: Argentina, Colombia, Spain and Mexico.
Chilean by birth, exiled by history: Marcela Pizarro works as a journalist Al Jazeera English on a media critique show that dissects the dynamics of power behind news coverage. She has worked across news and programmes for the channel since its launch in 2006. In 2004 she completed her Phd funded by the British Academy on Latin American Cultural History at the University of London. Her thesis explored the work of a neo-avant-garde group of artists and writers that marked an alternative mode of intellectual production during Chilean transition to democracy.