Spain's "star judge" suspended from office over Franco probe
The Spanish judges' organ CGPJ on Friday temporarily suspended top judge Baltasar Garzon from office, after the Supreme Court decided to try him for attempting to investigate the crimes of 1939-75 dictator Francisco Franco, DPA reported.
It was not clear how the CGPJ's decision would affect Garzon's plans to seek a temporary work transfer to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Garzon said he felt "calm," because he knew that "I am innocent of what I am being accused of."
Supreme Court judge Luciano Varela recently announced a trial of Garzon, who is known internationally for his human rights investigations in other countries, including an attempt to extradite former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and an indictment of Osama bin Laden.
Garzon was sued by two far-right associations for an inquiry he launched in 2008 into the crimes of Franco, whom he accuses of the deaths of more than 100,000 opponents during the 1936-39 civil war and the ensuing dictatorship.
Garzon dropped the probe under pressure from some legal experts and conservative politicians.
Varela said Garzon had overstepped his authority and ignored an amnesty that was granted for civil war era crimes in 1977.
Lawyers representing Garzon lodged a last-minute appeal against the trial, but it did not prevent the CGPJ from suspending the judge from his job at the National Court.
If Garzon is found guilty of professional misconduct, that could spell the end of his career in Spain.
Garzon has won support from international lawyers, especially in Latin America, who see him as being the victim of a witch-hunt by people wanting to cover up Franco's crimes.