Antonio Gonzalez Pacheco

24.05.2017 ( Last modified: 17.01.2018 )
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Facts

Antonio Gonzalez Pacheco, also known as “Billy el Niño”, was born in 1946 in Spain. He is a former member of the Francoist police, where he served in the Political Brigade and was renowned for ill-treatments inflicted on prisoners. After the collapse of the regime, he became inspector of the Superior Constabulary established during the Spanish Transition to democracy.

Between February 1971 and September 1975, Gonzalez Pacheco allegedly subjected at least 13 prisoners to torture during detention and interrogation at the headquarters of the Direction-General of Security (DGS). All his victims, mainly university students and militants arrested during strikes and rallies, described extremely violent practices, often exceeding the purpose of obtaining information or confessions and attributed to the cruel and sadist nature of the policeman. His means reportedly included severe beatings, waterboarding, electroshock, foot whipping and death threats.

Legal Procedure

Procedure in Spain

In December 2006, the Spanish investigating judge Baltasar Garzón opened an investigation into allegations of crimes against humanity committed during the Franco dictatorship. In October 2008, he ruled that the 1977 Spanish law granting amnesty for crimes committed during the Franco dictatorship did not apply owing to the nature of the crimes. However, the Supreme Court overturned this decision, while Judge Baltasar Garzón was judged for prevarication for his alleged unfair interpretation of the amnesty law. He was finally acquitted but the amnesty law remains applicable, and the crimes committed by the Franco dictatorship cannot be investigated or prosecuted in Spain.

Procedure in Argentina

On 14 April 2010, Spanish and Argentinian human rights organisations filed a criminal complaint with the Argentinian investigating judge Servini de Cubria on behalf of Spanish victims of the regime.

On 18 September 2013, judge Servini de Cubria issued arrest warrants for purpose of interrogation against Gonzalez Pacheco, Jesus Muñecas Aguilar and two other officials of the Franco police, invoking the principle of universal jurisdiction. Both Gonzalez Pacheco and Muñecas Aguilar were accused of torture amounting to crime against humanity.

On 18 September 2013, Judge Servini de Cubría issued an extradition request against González Pacheco and Jesús Muñecas Aguilar. On 24 April 2014, the Court denied extradition, maintaining that the offence could not be qualified as crime against humanity, imprescriptible by nature, and that the ten-year statute of limitations on torture under Spanish law had expired. Gonzalez Pacheco remains nonetheless subject to the international arrest warrant outside Spain.

A new request for interrogation addressed by the Argentinian judge to the Audiencia Nacional on 23 March 2016 was rejected.