Spanish judge petitions Interpol over TV cameraman's death

5th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

A judge in Spain has asked Interpol to explain why it has refused to execute arrest warrants for three US soldiers over the death of a Spanish TV cameraman killed by US tank fire seven years ago.

Jose Couso, who worked for Spanish network Telecinco, and a Reuters cameraman, Ukrainian-born Taras Protsyuk, were killed during shelling by US forces of a Baghdad hotel in April 2003.

Spanish Judge Santiago Pedraz in July re-issued international arrest warrants for the three US soldiers held responsible for the shelling.

In a document seen by AFP Tuesday, Pedraz said the three had "avoided international detention orders" because the international police agency Interpol had ruled that the alleged crimes were of a "military character."

He has sent an official letter to Interpol Spain asking why the agency considers this case "as being of a military nature" and not "a violation of common law."

Pedraz noted that in two previous occasions Interpol had accepted the arrest warrants for the three although the "alleged facts have not changed."

The judge asked the agency if "any member state has told Interpol that the facts in the (Spanish arrest warrants) constituted a military or other type of crime."

Washington has maintained that the three soldiers -- Sergeant Shawn Gibson, Captain Philip Wolford and Lieutenant Colonel Philip DeCamp -- acted appropriately in circumstances of war.

A US inquiry carried out in 2004 found no fault or negligence on the part of US troops.

Spanish courts have twice opened and closed the investigation into Couso's death, in 2006 and 2009.

© 2010 AFP

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