By AFP – 24 Sept 2009
MADRID — Two pro-Palestinian groups Thursday appealed a decision by a Spanish court to close a probe into senior Israeli military officials over a deadly 2002 air raid in Gaza.
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 by a lower court.
A Spanish judge decided in January to pursue a complaint by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights against 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, Salah Shehadeh and 14 civilians.
The probe had sparked an angry reaction from Israel, which described it “as a political attempt to abuse the Spanish justice system”.
But the High Court shelved the probe in June, following the recommendations of public prosecutors, who argued that the attack had already been under investigation by Israel.
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 are not already subject to a legal procedure in the country involved.
In their appeal filed Thursday the two civil parties 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 in 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.