Tag Archives | Spain

Spanish Parliamentarians make formal appeal against ‘unconstitutional’ change in law following Tibet lawsuits

June 13, 2014

Spanish Parliamentarians issued an appeal today to the Constitutional Court in Madrid, declaring that a change in Spanish law in response to Chinese pressure over two Tibet lawsuits was illegal and unconstitutional.

After two Tibet lawsuits led to arrest warrants being issued by the Spanish courts for several Chinese officials for their Tibet policies, the Spanish Parliament had voted in February in favor of a bill limiting the power of the judiciary to investigate human rights abuses committed outside the country (ICT report, Spanish Parliament ruling following arrest warrants for Chinese leaders ‘should be of concern to all European citizens’).

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European Parliament’s Tibet Intergroup

Spanish Socialists commit to defense of universal justice after controversial ruling due to pressure from China

March 6, 2014

The Spanish Socialist spokesperson Soraya Rodriguez has announced in Madrid that the opposition Socialist Party will appeal to the Constitutional Court against the recent legislative move in Spain to limit the power of the judiciary to investigate and prosecute serious crimes under international law.

The announcement was made during a meeting on Tuesday (March 4) in the Spanish Congress, in which victims including Tibetan monk Thubten Wangchen testified about the importance of the principle of universal jurisdiction. (Image and report in Spanish, El País, El PSOE recurrirá la reforma de la justicia universal ante el Constitucional
).

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An appeal to protect universal justice in Spain

February 21, 2014

The International Campaign for Tibet and the Spanish Tibet Support Committee, Comité de Apoyo al Tibet (CAT) are targeting Spanish lawmakers to challenge the recent move in Madrid to limit the power of the judiciary to investigate and prosecute serious crimes under international law. This development follows pressure from the Chinese authorities on Madrid over two lawsuits focusing on China’s leadership for its policies in Tibet, and which has led to arrest warrants being issued by the Spanish courts for several Chinese officials. (Details in ICT report, Spanish Parliament ruling following arrest warrants for Chinese leaders ‘should be of concern to all European citizens’).

This new initiative follows the 100th meeting of the Tibet Intergroup in Brussels on February 19 (ICT press release, European Parliament marks its 100th meeting on Tibet with strong statements and a message from His Holiness the Dalai Lama) in which MEPs from all parties expressed their strong support for the Tibetan cause. Speakers Dr. José Elías Esteve Moltó, lawyer and author of the two ground-breaking law suits in Spain and Mr. Alan Cantos from Comité de Apoyo al Tibet (main plaintiffs), raised the importance of a unified front in Europe to support Spanish lawmakers who are seeking to prevent a change in the law that would limit courts in trying cases of the most serious crimes regardless of where they were committed and the nationality of the perpetrator and/or the victim. This development would put Spain in breach of its international obligations and offer the prospect of impunity to many responsible for serious crimes.

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Spanish Parliament ruling following arrest warrants for Chinese leaders ‘should be of concern to all European citizens’

February 12, 2014

The Spanish Parliament voted yesterday to move ahead with a bill limiting the power of the judiciary to investigate human rights abuses committed outside the country, following pressure from China over two law suits focusing on China’s leaders for their policies in Tibet.

Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said today: “The result of the vote by the Spanish Parliament following the orders of arrest affecting Chinese leaders by Spain’s independent judiciary only underlines the unprecedented pressure that the Chinese government is imposing on European governments. This is part of an increasing attempt by China to undermine the rules and principles of international law in order to preserve its impunity. The new and very alarming element is that now China, an authoritarian government, is able to directly request, and obtain, changes to the national legislation of a major European democracy such as Spain. The sooner democrats and citizens of the world realize and act to counter these developments, the better it would be for our future.”

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Tibet case in the Spanish court

Spanish judge orders arrest warrants for Chinese leaders on day before Spanish Parliament vote on legal reform

February 11, 2014

Spanish High Court Judge Ismael Moreno issued orders to be conveyed to Interpol for the detention of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin and four other Chinese leaders for their policies on Tibet. The ruling comes a day before the Spanish Parliament votes on legal reform (February 11) that would effectively shut down the cases.

The unexpected development follows intense judicial discussions behind the scenes in the Madrid National Court (Audiencia Nacional) about how to proceed since appeal judges ruled that the warrants should be issued in November 2013 (ICT report, Spanish criminal court orders arrest warrants against Chinese leaders following Hu Jintao indictment for Tibet policies).

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Spanish judge orders compliance with order to arrest Jiang Zemin, other Chinese leaders

February 6, 2014

A Spanish judge has agreed to comply with orders to issue arrest warrants for Chinese former President Jiang Zemin and four other Chinese leaders. The new development has emerged just days before moves by the Spanish government to shut down the Tibet lawsuits are discussed in Parliament in Madrid (ICT report, A ‘death blow to democracy’: Spanish lawyers challenge new ruling that may close down Tibet lawsuits after Chinese pressure.)

Spanish lawyers working on the lawsuits against the Chinese leaders said that the new move by Judge Ismael Moreno was evidence that the case will now progress, even though the ruling is against the wishes of the Spanish government, under pressure from the Chinese leadership.

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Portraits of lawyers and witnesses in Spanish Tibet cases

February 6, 2014

Spanish newspaper El País has published a set of portraits of Tibetan witnesses and lawyers involved in the Tibet law suits in Spain, now threatened with shutdown by the Spanish government after pressure from China (ICT report, A ‘death blow to democracy’: Spanish lawyers challenge new ruling that may close down Tibet lawsuits after Chinese pressure).

The portraits, depict Tibetan witnesses such as Tagna Jigme Zangpo, the longest serving Tibetan political prisoner, who served 37 years in prison in Tibet, and plaintiff and Tibetan Parliamentarian Thubten Wangchen.

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A ‘death blow to democracy’: Spanish lawyers challenge new ruling that may close down Tibet lawsuits after Chinese pressure

December 26, 2013

  • The Chinese government has expressed its approval of the Spanish authorities’ moves last week to close down a ground-breaking Tibet lawsuit involving orders of arrest against Chinese leaders.
  • Spanish newspaper El Pais, quoting Spanish Justice Ministry sources, reported on December 15 that the leadership in Madrid was intending to take steps to limit the Spanish judiciary’s powers to investigate human rights abuses under the principle of universal jurisdiction, after Spanish judges ordered warrants of arrest to be issued after five Chinese leaders for their policies in Tibet (ICT report, Tibet lawsuits: Update following ground-breaking ruling by the Spanish courts). A full translation of the El Pais article into English is published below.
  • A Chinese delegation sent to Spain last week to express disapproval of the Spanish court orders was led by an official who presided over a campaign to compel Tibetan villagers to raise Chinese flags which has led to protests and a violent crackdown.
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filing the complaint

Tibet lawsuits: Update following ground-breaking ruling by the Spanish courts

December 13, 2013

Senior lawyers and international law experts have commented on China’s reaction to the recent Spanish criminal court rulings against China’s former Party boss Hu Jintao and five other Chinese leaders. The lawyers and professors were speaking at a conference at the University of Valencia, Spain, following the order on November 18 for arrest warrants to be issued against five Chinese leaders, including former President and Party Secretary Jiang Zemin, for their policies in Tibet. This follows the news on October 9 of Hu Jintao’s indictment for genocide in Tibet. The Confucian Institute at the University of Valencia sought to pressure the academic authorities by hosting a two-day event promoting officially-sanctioned Chinese culture on the same days as the conference, while the visa of one of the Tibetan witnesses due to speak at the event was denied by the Spanish embassy in India.

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Spanish criminal court orders arrest warrants against Chinese leaders following Hu Jintao indictment for Tibet policies

November 18, 2013

Judges in the Spanish National Court today (November 18) ordered warrants of arrest to be issued against five Chinese leaders, including former President and Party Secretary Jiang Zemin, for their policies in Tibet. This ground-breaking development follows the news on October 9 of Hu Jintao’s indictment for genocide in Tibet. In a separate legal ruling also issued today in Madrid, the Spanish National Court also ordered that former leader Hu Jintao is informed of his indictment and sent questions about his policies in Tibet via the Chinese embassy.

The rulings today have positively surprised Spanish legal experts working on the Tibetan law suits upholding the principle of “universal jurisdiction” a part of international law that allows courts to reach beyond national borders in cases of torture, terror and other serious international crimes perpetrated by individuals, governments or military authorities. This new development was described to the International Campaign for Tibet by legal experts in Spain as being potentially as significant as the arrest of Pinochet in London in 1998 after a group of Spanish lawyers put together a lawsuit against the Chilean dictator, who presided over a 17-year reign of terror and ordered foreign assassinations.

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China’s former leader Hu Jintao indicted for policies in Tibet by Spanish court

October 11, 2013

China’s former leader Hu Jintao has been indicted for genocide in Tibet by the Spanish National Court (Audiencia Nacional) in a writ issued on October 9, 2013. This development, made just before China undergoes its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on October 22, could lead to moves to seek Hu Jintao’s arrest if he were to travel out of China for questioning on the crimes he is accused of, or the possibility of bank accounts overseas being preventively frozen. The judges recognized that this indictment of Hu Jintao comes at the judicial moment “when his diplomatic immunity expires”.

The court ruling is a ground-breaking development in a lawsuit in Spain upholding the principle of “universal jurisdiction” — a doctrine that allows courts to reach beyond national borders in cases of torture, terror and other serious international crimes perpetrated by individuals, governments or military authorities. After an appeal on July 29 following the judge’s earlier rejection of a request to extend the lawsuit to include former Party Secretary and President Hu Jintao, the appeals court now accepts the argument put forward by the Spanish NGO Comite de Apoyo al Tibet (CAT) for Hu Jintao’s indictment. This includes the period he was Party Secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Region in which he presided over the imposition of martial law in 1989, and also his responsibility for policy on Tibet as President and Party Secretary of China after 2003 “due to being the highest ranking person in both the Party and the Government”.

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ICT testifies in Spain’s National Court on Chinese leadership policies in Tibet

The International Campaign for Tibet has testified in Spain’s National Court to the direct responsibility of senior Communist Party leaders for policies in Tibet as part of a ground-breaking lawsuit under the principle of “universal jurisdiction,” a doctrine that allows courts to reach beyond national borders in cases of torture and terror perpetrated by states. […]

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The case for universal jurisprudence: Alan Cantos on pursuing lawsuits against Chinese leaders

Alan Cantos is a Spanish citizen involved in pursuing lawsuits against Chinese leaders and seeking justice for Tibetans using the principle of universal jurisdiction in international law, whereby states can claim criminal jurisdiction over individuals whose alleged crimes are considered crimes against humanity, including genocide, regardless of the local jurisdiction in which said crimes were […]

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China threatens Spain over Tibet lawsuits; judge announces extension of cases to cover Nangpa shooting

In a new written statement, the Chinese government has rejected a judicial request for Chinese officials to testify in court in Madrid and demanded that the Spanish government block a ground-breaking investigation in the Spanish High Court on crimes against the Tibetan people, calling it a “false lawsuit.” The letter is the first written response […]

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Spanish High Court rules that Chinese leaders must testify on Tibet

A Spanish judge has today informed the Chinese Ministry of Justice of rulings against eight Chinese leaders, including Tibet Autonomous Region Party Secretary Zhang Qingli, in the Spanish High Court. The rulings concern an investigation on crimes against the Tibetan people in connection with the harsh crackdown on dissent in Tibet that has been ongoing […]

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Parliament of the World’s Religions commits to work on religious violence and refugees

Over 8,000 religious leaders and lay people gathered in Barcelona in Spain from July 7 to 13, 2004 and discussed the issues of religious violence, access to safe water, the fate of refugees worldwide, and the elimination of developing countries’ debts. The Parliament of the World’s Religions first met in Chicago in 1893. The Council […]

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Tibetan group condemns censorship at UN World Summit

Tibet Justice Center, a Berkeley, CA-based human rights and environment group, today condemned the UN for once again failing to support the accreditation of a qualified Tibet group to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa late this summer. With the G-77 nations squarely under its thumb, China prevented […]

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