MADRID – The lower house of Spain’s Parliament on Tuesday urged the government to limit the principle of universal criminal jurisdiction by Spanish courts to cases in which there are Spanish victims or those charged with the crime are in Spain.
The National Court, which tries cases of special relevance in Spain such as terrorism, is currently processing 13 international suits under the principle of universal jurisdiction, which covers crimes ranging from genocide in Guatemala to suspected torture at Guantanamo.
The resolution, presented by the main conservative opposition Popular Party and amended by the ruling Spanish Socialist Workers Party, received 339 votes in favor, just eight against and one abstention.
The text requests promoting with urgency a reform to “limit and clarify” the scope of the principle of universal criminal jurisdiction.
To be able to apply that principle it must be confirmed that the suspects of the crime under investigation are in Spain or that people of Spanish nationality are among the victims, the lawmakers agreed.
Another requirement is that no investigation or prosecution of the crimes are underway at an international court or in the country where they were committed.
If the country in question or an international court begins another trial for the same crimes, Spanish jurisdiction should provisionally suspend the case it has opened.
The United States, Israel, China and Guatemala are some of the countries that, under the principle of universal jurisdiction, the Spanish judicial system is currently investigating following complaints filed by associations and groups. EFE