A glimmer of post-amendment hope for Tibet genocide cases in Spain?


(TibetanReview.net, Mar19, 2014) – The Spanish parliament’s recent annulment of all the dozen ‘universal justice’ cases being tried by its judiciary may not necessarily mean an end to the ongoing cases against some of the retired Chinese leaders for their genocidal human rights violations in occupied Tibet. In the first test of the new law, the court there has on Mar 17 refused to close the file on the death of a Spanish cameraman during the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, reported thelocal.es Mar 17.

On Mar 14, the new amendment law, passed in Feb 2014, was made official by being published in the country’s Official State Bulletin. However, on Mar 17, 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 Apr 8, 2003 in Baghdad during the US invasion of the city.

Explaining his ruling, Pedraz has 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 has stressed that internal rule changes in Spain didn’t alter that international obligation.

The universal justice cases being tried by Spain’s National Court are based on international human rights laws and principles. It was in the name of acting under obligations arising from such laws that in Feb 2014, a judge sought international arrest warrants, through the Interpol, for former President and party chief Jiang Zemin, former Premier Li Peng, and three other top Chinese officials as part of a probe into alleged genocide in Tibet.

Spain’s ruling conservative Popular Party has used its majority in both the houses of parliament to fast-track the amendment of the law with a design to shelve the high profile international human rights cases under intense pressure especially from China. It said the amendment was needed to avoid “useless disputes that only generate diplomatic conflicts”. Spain’s Socialist Party has already said it will appeal the amendment to the country’s constitutional court.


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