Spain joins the fascist regimes against universal jurisdiction

The regime decided on Tuesday to push forward with a bill that limits the power of Spanish judges to pursue criminal cases outside the country, a move that human rights organisations said would end Spain’s leading role as an enforcer of international justice.The reform means that from now on, crimes committed outside Spanish territory may be prosecuted in Spain only if the alleged perpetrators are Spaniards or foreigners who acquired Spanish citizenship after the commission of the offense.

The immediate effect will be to quash about a dozen open cases, including the Spanish National Court’s investigation of former Chinese President Hu Jintao for repression in Tibet and the prosecution of U.S. military personnel for the 2003 death of Spanish television cameraman Jose Couso during combat in Iraq.

Garzon tried to judge the fascist genocide in Spain: in just a few months he was suspended

Garzon tried to judge the fascist genocide in Spain: in just a few months he was suspended

Last month, the ruling People’s party (PP) tabled a fast-track legal change to curb the use of universal jurisdiction, a provision in international law that allows judges to try cases of human rights abuses committed in other countries. Since being adopted into Spanish law nearly two decades ago, the doctrine has allowed Spanish judges to reach beyond their borders and investigate serious human rights abuses in countries such as Argentina, Rwanda and Guatemala. Its use put the Spanish justice system into the headlines at times – most famously for the 1998 arrest of the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in London.

“This reform makes it even harder to probe into severe human rights abuses,” said Ignacio Jovtis, of Amnesty International Spain. “It’s a step backwards for human rights and justice.”  Nearly two dozen international human rights groups have spoken out against the change, calling it political interference in the justice system and urging the government to abandon the reform. The product of crusading judges who sought to apply international human rights standards to many of the world’s most powerful figures, these cases have only rarely, if ever, resulted in prosecutions in Spain: never a Franco supporter had to face any trial. But they have influenced cases in other countries, notably Argentina, and are an undeniable nuisance for anyone named in an international warrant. They have also complicated diplomacy in unpredictable ways for a regime that, nowadays, is selling human rights for money.

The new law means an end to a dozen investigations including:

● The investigation of CIA rendition flights that landed in Spain after 9/11

● The murder of Spanish cameraman José Couso in Iraq by US troops in 2003

● The 2012 Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza

● The kidnap, torture and murder of Spanish United Nations official Carmelo Soria in 1976 by the National Intelligence Directorate of Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet

● The prosecution of China for genocide, torture and crimes against humanity in Tibet

● The complaint against four former SS soldiers by a survivor and the families of five Spanish victims of the Nazi concentration camps

● The lawsuit involving the alleged killing by the military in 1989 of five Spanish Jesuits in the Central American University in El Salvador

● The investigation of several former top Guatemalan officials charged with genocide and torture committed against the Mayan population

● The investigation of former officials of the Rwandan government for the genocide of four million people and the murder of nine Spaniards in the 1990s

● The investigation into the attack by Iraqi special forces in 2011 against the Ashraf refugee camp, in which 35 people are said to have died and 337 injured

● The lawsuit into the alleged crimes of genocide, murder, torture and illegal detention of Sahwaris by the Moroccan authorities

● The alleged crimes of genocide and torture against followers of the Falun Gong in China

 

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