Thursday, October 20, 2005

Spanish Court Tries to Have U.S. Soldiers Arrested

From Reuters via ABC News:
A Spanish High Court judge has issued international arrest warrants for three US soldiers in connection with the death of a Spanish cameraman during the Iraq war.

The soldiers allegedly killed Telecinco cameraman Jose Couso and Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk and seriously injured three Reuters staff when a shell was fired from their tank into the Palestine Hotel in April 2003.

High Court Judge Santiago Pedraz said an investigation had shown the soldiers could be responsible for murder and crimes against the international community.

But a US investigation has found the men were justified in opening fire.

Judge Pedraz says the warrants are “the only effective measure to ensure the accused are made available to Spanish judicial authorities” because US authorities have refused to cooperate.

He says American officials have not answered two court requests for help, which included offers to send a legal team to the US to take statements from the soldiers.

The charges carry jail sentences of 15 to 20 years and 10 to 15 years respectively.

US officials have said it is very unlikely their soldiers will be allowed to be questioned by a foreign court.

“I just cannot imagine how any US soldier can be subject to some kind of foreign proceeding for criminal liability when he is in a tank in a war zone as part of an international coalition,” a US State Department official, who asked not to be named, said in June.

The Palestine Hotel was the base for almost all foreign journalists in the city at the time.

It was shelled the day before US troops captured Baghdad.
This provides an obvious object lesson to people who wanted the U.S. to join the International Criminal Court. When America subjects its soldiers to the jurisdiction of foreign judges, the potential for mischief on the part of activist judges who are hostile to America and its interests is huge.

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