Judicial career

Competence as a judge in the last 22 years has included the following subjects:

• Investigation of terrorist offenses.
• Investigation of drug trafficking and money laundering.
• Investigation of counterfeiting crimes.
• Investigation of organized crime and phenomena of corruption connected thereto.
• Investigating crimes of genocide, torture, terrorism and other international crimes.
• Cases of passive extradition and European Arrest Warrants and crimes committed abroad.
• International Legal Cooperation.
Some of the main activities include


ETA. 1988 onwards. Countless investigations on operating terrorist groups of the terrorist organization and the arrest of those responsible for numerous attacks resulting in deaths, kidnapping, extortion, threats, fire, damage, interception of explosives, heavy weapons … Conducted proceedings against other satellite organizations such as the Kale Borroka or Y groups.
Garzón designed an operating system which has been helped investigate KAS, EKIN, XAKI, JARRAI, SEGI, Pro amnesty Managers, ASKATASUNA, EGIN, a network of companies that supported the organization declaring the illegality of various formations. Both the Spanish Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights endorsed these actions.
1998. Closure of the newspaper Egin and the radio station Egin Irratia, accused of collaborating with ETA. In 2001 he issued an order closing the magazine Ardi Beltza whose director, Pepe Rei, had previously been prosecuted under the “Egin case”.
2001. He ordered the arrest of thirteen people linked to the Pro Amnesty Managers movement (Gestorak), nationalist organization supporting the fight for the return of ETA prisoners. He also undertook the outlawing of Batasuna, in a writ published in Madrid on August 26, 2002, for an alleged crime of integration into a terrorist organization.
2003. Baltasar Garzón suspended the activities and ordered the closure of the premises in Spain and abroad of the Communist Party of Spain (reconstituted) PCE(r) considering it the political arm of the First of October Antifascist Resistance Groups (Grapo)

GAL. The Anti-Terrorist Liberation Groups (GAL) were vigilante groups who practiced what is called state terrorism or “dirty war” against the criminal organization ETA and its environment. Garzón investigated the action of this gang following the kidnapping of a French citizen, Segundo Marey. As a final result various former senior Interior Ministry officials, including a minister were sentenced to prison.

Protocolo Garzón [Garzón Protocol]

Baltasar Garzón included in his investigations into terrorist offenses a process to strengthen safeguards for incommunicado detainees for terrorism cases, according to international standards of UN and human rights agencies which at that time were not assumed in Spain. This is called Protocol Garzón.


As Judge of the High court in 2009, Baltasar Garzón opened a case to investigate possible “perpetrators, inductors, necessary collaborators and accomplices” of crimes of torture committed at Guantanamo after allegations by Hamed Abderrahman Ahmed, Lahcen Ikassrien, Jamiel Abdul Latif al Banna and Omar Deghayes. In November 2010 Wiki leaks revealed that Garzón was considered dangerous to U.S. interests and a formula was sought to prevent him continuing his investigation.

Drug trafficking.

He made major operations against drug trafficking and drug money laundering, both in local networks and international criminal gangs. As is the case of the Nécora, Green Ice, Troika, UCIFA operations, among many others.

Financial crimes.

Garzón has undertaken significant actions against corruption and economic crimes such as the Pretoria or Gürtel operations which caused sentencing to disqualification by the Supreme Court.

Historical report.

He was declared competent to investigate crimes of the civil war and the Franco-era initiating the case which had to be inhibited in favour of the regional courts. He met with strong opposition from the Office of the High court. Thanks to the process that he started the existence of more than 130,000 missing people came to light. This case was prosecuted but acquitted by the Supreme Court. Garzón is the only Spanish magistrate who has dared to address these crimes.

Universal justice.

The warrant for the arrest of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet or the Scilingo case and death flights of Argentina’s dictatorship, gave Garzón international fame.