SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTRE - EUROPE
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Wiesenthal Centre to Spanish Prime Minister: "Why Does Spain's 'Universal Jurisprudence' Legislation Target Israelis But Not War Criminals and Human Rights Violators in Spain?"
Paris, 2 March 2009
In a letter to Spanish Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr Shimon Samuels, noted the Centre's "great concern at the apparent misappropriation of Spain's 1993 law of 'universal jurisprudence', which grants power to Spanish judges to prosecute delicts beyond Spanish territory, committed by non-Spaniards against non-Spaniards. As recently witnessed in Belgium, such a regime is subject to political mischief as, indeed, is Judge Fernando Andreu's pursuit for war crimes of seven senior Israeli political and military figures."
"Among them figure, respectively, the former Israeli Defence and Security Minister, Chief of Staff, Commander of the Air Force, the head of the National Security Council and their advisors. Andreu charges them for the 'targeted killing', in July 2002, of Salah Shehadeh, leader of an organisation designated as terrorist in the European Union – 'Izzeddin Al Kassam', the military wing of Hamas. It was Shehadeh who indoctrinated, trained and despatched hundreds of suicide bombers into Israel for the mass murder of Jewish civilians."
In 1996, Samuels had presented to the then Spanish Prime Minister, José-Maria Aznar, the Centre's list of Nazi mass murderers of Jews and their collaborators, who were granted post-War refuge in Spain. These included Léon Degrelle, the Belgian mentor of a new generation of Spanish neo-Nazis," stressing that "none were ever prosecuted and several died with impunity in Spain."
He also lamented "the cosseting of Middle East terrorist movements did not prevent the 2004 Atocha station atrocity in Madrid."
The letter similarly pointed to North Africa, "where Guardia Civil brutality against African refugees seeking to enter Spain's colonial settlements of Ceuta and Melilla has never been publicly investigated, nor has the legality of your 'Apartheid Wall' that separates these enclaves from the surrounding Moroccan territory."
Samuels registered greatest astonishment at "the December 2008 decision of the National Audience Tribunal to leave intact the 1977 Amnesty for political crimes committed under Franco. Compensation has thus been denied to thousands of families of those 'disappeared' in the Civil War and thereafter. The 17 judges have denoted the Franco prelude to World War II as a simple 'rebellion', thereby consigning the victims of Spanish Fascism to oblivion, and effectively granting its perpetrators a State pardon."
The Centre identified one of these Judges as "His Honour, Fernando Andreu, who was, perhaps, distracted in constituting his charge-sheet against Israel," adding that "Andreu, apparently, plans to issue international arrest warrants for the seven Israeli officials, calling for their detention upon arrival in any of the 27 European Union member-states."
The Centre also questioned Prime Minister Zapatero as to:
"Why his authorities have not issued arrest warrants for the Spanish associates of Zapatero's Socialist predecessor, Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, who were, reportedly, implicated in death squad 'targeted killings' of ETA Basque terrorists?
Do not all terrorists have equal human rights, even when they attack Spanish citizens on Spanish soil? Does your 'universal jurisprudence' regime that targets Israelis, override domestic justice in Spain?"
"There is a Hebrew word that sums up 2,000 years of antisemitism – "CHUTZPA". Its Spanish translation – "atrevimiento" – hardly does it justice.
But neither does Spain's arbitrary 'universal jurisprudence,'" concluded Samuels.
For further information, please contact Shimon Samuels at +33.609.77.01.58.