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Thursday, 18 April, 2002, 10:46 GMT 11:46 UK
Spanish judge targets Kissinger
Judge Balthazar Garzon
Garzon may make Kissinger think twice before travelling
test hello test
By Flora Botsford in Madrid

The Spanish judge, Balthazar Garzon, has asked Interpol for information about a scheduled visit to London by the former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, next week.

Mr Kissinger is a new target for the man known in Spain as Super Judge, as he continues his personal crusade against what he describes as international terrorism.

Former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger
Kissinger: Witness, but maybe also suspect
Specifically, Judge Garzon wants to investigate what Mr Kissinger and the US Government knew about a plot in the 1970s, known as Operation Condor.

In this operation six former Latin American dictatorships - Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay - agreed to assassinate each other's political opponents.

They secretly planned a co-ordinated effort to kidnap and kill hundreds of exiled men and women.

Approach to UK

Judge Garzon cites Mr Kissinger as a witness in his case against the former Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet. p>

He has asked the London office of Interpol to confirm whether Mr Kissinger plans to visit Britain next week as scheduled.

If the answer is yes, Judge Garzon intends to ask the British authorities for permission to interview him.

No formal charges

A French judge has made a similar request, although neither France nor Spain has laid formal charges against Mr Kissinger.

It is probably fair to say that Judge Garzon's case against General Pinochet, even if it was not successful, has changed the course of legal history.

As one human rights campaigner in the US said, Mr Kissinger is now one of many officials around the world who have to think twice before they travel.

With a trial of General Pinochet himself increasingly unlikely even in Chile, victims are now pressing claims against Mr Kissinger and US officials who supported military dictatorships in Latin America in the early 1970s.

See also:

17 Jan 00 | Europe
Call for more Pinochet tests
01 Sep 00 | Americas
Argentine charged with genocide
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