January 30, 2009

Costa del war crime?

Ah, those were the days, pre-EU mostly, at least I thought so, when British criminals could hide out in Spain safe in the knowledge that there was no extradition treaty between there and here. Of course then Spain got into the EU and things were supposed to have changed. So how is it then that Israel is closer than ever to getting into the EU and yet its war criminals (suspected that is) can find the safe haven that Britain's ordinary decent criminals can't?

But isn't Spain that progressive state where a prosecutor was seeking to have Pinochet extradited from the UK to? Well, yes and presumably under similar or the same legislation, according to yesterday's Ynet (and my previous post):
A Spanish court granted a petition by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights on Thursday, asking the two [former Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and former IAF and IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz] be investigated for alleged "crimes against humanity" for their involvement in the 2002 assassination of Hamas operative Salah Shehade. Fourteen civilians were killed in the incident and about 100 more were injured.
But now see today's Ha'aretz:
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos informed Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Friday of Spain's plan to amend legislation that granted a Spanish judge the authority to launch a much-publicized war crimes investigation against senior Israeli officials.

Judge Fernando Andreu launched an investigation Thursday into seven current or former Israeli officials over a 2002 bombing in Gaza that killed a top Hamas militant, Salah Shehadeh, and 14 other people, including nine children.
Oh well, maybe we'll have better luck with Turkey but it will be interesting to see how laws have to be changed so that Israel can keep on getting away with killing children. I wonder if a Spanish child killer in a Spanish court would be able to use an "Israel defence" like the Americans tried in Abu Ghraib.

UPDATE: Abdullah Abenyusuf from the blog, Situjihadismo, claims that Israel is making this up to pressure the Spanish government into intervening. If he's right and I think he is, then it's remarkable that Livni would be so brazen. But here is Abdullah in the comments below this post, "I mean, the vice-president of Spain's Governement, made today a clear statement about the independence of the Justice in Spain, as a democracy "something that Israel surely understands", a beautiful piece of irony by the way." I can't find an English source for any Spanish denial of Livni's boasting but I do have this link to El Mundo from Abdullah's blog. If anything shows up in the mainstream English language media to expose Livni as having lied about this I'll do a follow up post.

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