Lawyers Against the War


Spanish Court Refuses to stop investigation of torture at Guantánamo Bay


April 30, 2014

Diligencias Previas 150/2009-P. Auto del Juzgado Central de Instrucción nº 5 de 15 de abril de 2014 incoando sumario por torturas y crímenes de guerra (Sumario 2/2014)

On 15 April 2014, Spain’s Audiencia Nacional (Judge Pablo Ruz) ruled to continue investigating torture at Guantánamo Bay prison in spite of recent legislative restrictions limiting the jurisdiction of Spanish courts to investigate crimes committed outside Spain to instances where the suspect(s) are in Spain. Judge Pablo Ruz ruled that the international law obligations to investigate credible allegations of torture take precedence over the new restrictions. He went on to renew the request for the Obama administration to provide information about US investigations. Spain’s Popular Party had fast tracked new legislation restricting Spain’s universal jurisdiction after a Spanish judge issued a warrant for the arrest of five Chinese Government officials for genocide and other crimes in Tibet. Seventeen international groups including Canada-based Lawyers against the War and Lawyers Without Borders/Canada issued a public statement opposing the changes as contrary to international law obligations. Under the new law, for crimes against humanity and war crimes involving allegations of genocide to be investigated and prosecuted in Spain, the suspect must either be a Spanish national, a foreigner habitually resident in Spain or a foreigner present in Spain whose extradition has been denied by Spanish authorities. For Spain to assume jurisdiction over crimes of torture and enforced disappearance, the new law requires that either the suspect or the victim be a Spanish national and that the suspect is present in Spain.



Gail Davidson
Lawyers Against the War


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