Spain confirms rejection of Gaza probe



MADRID- Spain's Supreme Court Tuesday upheld a decision to drop an investigation that targeted Israeli officials for alleged crimes against humanity over a deadly 2002 air raid in Gaza.
The Madrid High Court had decided last June to drop the probe into seven senior Israeli military figures over an air attack on Gaza City on July 22, 2002 that killed a suspected leader of the Islamist movement Hamas and 14 civilians.



Bulldozers search in the ruin after Israel dropped a one-tonne bomb on a densely populated neighbourhood in Gaza in 2002.
Bulldozers search in the ruin after Israel dropped a one-tonne bomb on a densely populated neighbourhood in Gaza in 2002.
But last September, two pro-Palestinian groups -- the Committee for Solidarity with the Arab Cause and the Al-Quds Association for Solidarity with the People of the Arab World -- called on the Supreme Court to overturn the decision.
But the Supreme Court Tuesday rejected the appeal.
The original case was opened in January, 2009, based on a complaint by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.
The probe had sparked an angry reaction from Israel, which described it "as a political attempt to abuse the Spanish justice system".
Spain has since 2005 assumed the principle of universal jurisdiction in alleged cases of crimes against humanity, genocide and terrorism.
But it only applies if the alleged crimes were not already subject to a legal procedure in the country involved, and Spanish public prosecutors had argued that the Gaza attack had already been under investigation by Israel.
In their appeal last September, the two civil parties had argued that "there is no independent judicial system in Israel and that the current universal jurisdiction applies in the case of Gaza".
Spain's lower house of parliament voted last June to restrict the judges' ability to investigate such cases to those that involve Spanish victims or in which the suspects are on Spanish soil.
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Wednesday, April 14th 2010
AFP
           


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