Court to rule on cases without Spanish victims

6th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

6 October 2005, MADRID — Spain's constitutional court has ruled that the nation's courts are competent to try cases of genocide and crimes against humanity committed outside Spain even if no Spaniards were among the victims.

6 October 2005

MADRID — Spain's constitutional court has ruled that the nation's courts are competent to try cases of genocide and crimes against humanity committed outside Spain even if no Spaniards were among the victims.

The ruling came in response to a suit brought by Guatemalan Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu in 1999 asking Spain to investigate cases of genocide, torture and unlawful imprisonment committed by Guatemala's military regimes between 1978 and 1986.

The ruling overturns a ruling in 2000 by the national court which refused to hear the case and a subsequent supreme court ruling affirming jurisdiction in crimes committed abroad only where Spanish victims are involved.

Specifically, the Indian leader accused six former Guatemalan military chiefs and two civilians of torture, genocide and state-sponsored terrorism in the course of the Central American country's 36-year civil war.

In its 2003 decision, the Spanish supreme court said the "universal jurisdiction" that Menchu invoked only applies in cases where victims are of Spanish nationality.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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