• Spain's news in English

Murder case against US soldiers not over: Judge

The Local · 17 Mar 2014, 14:04

Published: 17 Mar 2014 14:04 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The Spanish Government in February defied opposition pressure and voted to close investigations into as many as a dozen high profile Spanish-led international cases including alleged Chinese genocide in Tibet and possible torture in the US prison facility of Guantanamo Bay.

On Friday, the move — described by many as an end to Spain's concept of 'universal justice' — was made official when it was published in the country's Official State Bulletin.

Under the new rules, Spanish courts can only try crimes committed on Spanish soil. 

But on Monday, Santiago Pedraz, a judge with Spain's National Court, said he wouldn't stop investigating the 2003 death of Spanish cameraman José Couso in Iraq.

Couso was one of three journalists killed on April 8th 2003 in Baghdad during the US invasion of the city.

Explaining his ruling, Pedraz said he was obliged to pursue the case under the Fourth Geneva Convention, ratified by Spain, which deals with the protection of civilians during war time.

He then stressed that internal rule changes in Spain didn't alter that international obligation.

Spain has issued a search and capture order for three US military personnel for crimes against the international community and homicide.

In January, Pedraz officially approached Spain's justice minister to complain about a lack of US cooperation in the case.

The Spanish Government announced earlier this year it was looking at shutting down up to a dozen cases involving genocide, torture and war crimes. 

In February, a Spanish judge sought international arrest warrants for former Chinese President Jiang Zemin and four other top Chinese officials as part of a probe into alleged genocide in Tibet.

Story continues below…

This sparked outrage from China with officials in that country saying they were "strongly dissatisfied and firmly opposed" to the move.

Spain's ruling conservative Popular Party then said changes to the country's universal justice regime were needed to avoid "useless disputes that only generate diplomatic conflicts".

A spokesperson for the PSOE slammed the move to scrap the international cases by saying: "It's as if the the Chinese regime were imposing the order of the day."  

Don't miss stories about Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.  

The Local (news@thelocal.es)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Man rescued from bin after climbing in find old clothes
Photo: Policía Local Murcia

Police were called after passersby reported hearing a man calling for help from within a rubbish bin in the Vistabella neighbourhood of Murcia, southern Spain.

Spain faces crucial week as conservatives re-take power
Mariano Rajoy hopes to form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain entered a crucial week as acting conservative PM Mariano Rajoy prepared to re-take power, ending ten rollercoaster months without government marked by hope and disillusion.

Eight very creepy Halloween costumes ideas from Spain
Photo: Pan's Labyrinth

Forget flamenco dancers and bullfighters, The Local counts down the freakiest alternative costume ideas to dress up in this Halloween.

Man attacked by racist thug in UK street for talking Spanish

Tomas Gil, 27, from Valencia in eastern Spain was talking to his girlfriend in their native language after a night out in the British seaside town of Poole when he was set upon by a racist thug.

Malaga: Police probe bizarre 'sex death' of homeless Brit
The man was found near Malaga airport. Photo: Dennis Howlett / Flickr

A British homeless man was found dead tied to a bench near Malaga airport with his trousers down and his genitals in a can of tuna.

Clock ticking as Spain races to avoid third elections
Third elections could now be avoided. Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialists voted on Sunday to allow the conservatives to take power, likely averting a third election for Spaniards tired of going to the polls.

Spain worries about tourism future
Photo: Josep Lago / AFP file picture

After basking in its best tourist summer season in 15 years, Spain now sees dark clouds on the horizon as popular destinations reach saturation point and holidaymakers are more thrifty, industry experts say.

Spain's Socialists lift veto on Rajoy to break deadlock
The Socialists have decided to lift their veto on the minority conservative government or not. Photo: Gerard Julien/ AFP

Spain's embattled Socialists on Sunday voted to lift a long-standing veto that has prevented the conservatives from forming a minority government, in what should finally end a ten-month political impasse.

Spain's 'Napflix' aims to bore viewers to sleep
Photo: Screengrab/ Napflix

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more "monotony and repetition."

Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
jobs available