22 February 2006
MADRID – The Spanish judicial system is set to probe some of the atrocities committed in Guatemala between 1978 and 1986.
Guatemalan Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu in 1999 asked Spain to investigate cases of genocide, torture and unlawful imprisonment committed by Guatemala's military regimes.
However, the case has been beset with problems after 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.
This week, though, the national court accepted jurisdiction for the case, implementing the verdict of the constitutional court which ruled late last year that a Spanish court can try cases committed in another country even if no Spaniards are involved.
International law allows countries to try cases, provided they cannot be properly tried in the country where they were committed and provided that there is no international trial on the same charges.
Menchu has 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.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news
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