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Friday, July 30, 2010

US soldiers indicted again on the murder of journalist in Baghdad

The Spanish Audiencia Nacional has ordered search and capture for three US soldiers: colonel Philip de Camp, captain Philip Wolford and sergeant Thomas Gibson for the murder of civilian journalists at Palestine Hotel in Baghdad on April 8th 2003. As you probably remember, a US tank shot against the balcony of this hotel while journalists were filming the entrance of US troops in the Iraqi capital, killing two: Reuters cameraman
Taras Protsyuk and Telecinco cameraman José Couso. Three other journalists were injured.

Earlier the case was dismissed by this same tribunal but the Supreme Court rejected the dismissal and ordered to open it again.

The crime for which they have been indicted is to knowingly attacking civilian population causing the death of José Couso and act or threats of terror against civilians and journalists. The judge considers that there is enough evidence to believe that Col. de Camp was the person who gave order of shooting in spite of knowing perfectly well that it was a civilian zone and was occupied only by journalists. Wolford is accused for transmitting the criminal order and Gibson for materially executing the murder.

The search and capture order has been decided because of the lack of cooperation from the US authorities. According to EU treaties it has validity in all the Schengen space, which includes most of EU and therefore also most of NATO. Additionally, bilateral extradition agreements of Spain or EU may mean the suspects are subject to arrest and extradition in many other countries across the globe.

So far the USA has rejected to cooperate with the Spanish judiciary in this case but that was under G.W. Bush and the judges "hope" (in vain I forecast) that the new administration will be more cooperative.

Similarly the Iraqi government has not replied to the Spanish requests of cooperation for the examination of the place of the crime, however the tribunal has ordered to send inspectors on their own, as no legal authorization seems to be actually needed for such simple task.

The Spanish Penal Code qualifies undiscriminated or excessive attacks against civilians in war situations as a crime.

Source: La Haine[es]

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