Spain’s Congress limits judges’ jurisdiction in war crimes


JERUSALEM (JTA) — In a move that bodes well for Israelis targeted for war crimes, Spain’s Congress has moved to limit judges’ jurisdiction in cases involving events occurring overseas.

Spain’s congress on Tuesday passed a resolution to limit judges’ jurisdiction to cases in which there is a Spanish connection, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The Spanish court has said that it can investigate and try human rights and war crimes cases if the country of origin does not do so. It has investigated such cases throughout the world.

Judge Fernando Andreu of the Spanish National Court announced earlier this month that he will pursue an investigation into the 2002 bombing that killed Hamas leader Salah Shehade in the Gaza Strip, despite the fact that court prosecutors advised against it and Israel investigated the murder, according to reports.

Israel and the United States also have adopted the principle of universal jurisdiction, which holds that crimes against humanity can be tried anywhere, The Journal reported.

Under the resolution, which the Spanish government will introduce in the form of legislation that the major parties reportedly have agreed to support, cases investigated by the court will have to involve a Spanish citizen or a defendant actually on Spanish soil.

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