Spain judge upholds charges against US soldiers in Iraq death of journalist

[JURIST] Spanish judge Santiago Pedraz ruled Thursday that charges against three US soldiers for homicide and a "crime against the international community" in the 2004 death in Iraq of cameraman Jose Couso [advocacy website, in English; JURIST news archive] should stand, despite the appeal [JURIST report] of Spanish prosecutors on behalf of the soldiers that the death was an "accident of war." A US military investigation of the incident concluded that the soldiers did not act improperly when their tank fired a shell into the Baghdad Hotel, because the tank crew reasonably believed that there was a spotter in the hotel directing hostile fire. Pedraz ruled, however, that the soldiers acted in a disproportionate manner because even if a spotter was in the hotel, "it was not an attack on US forces" and the soldiers were aware that journalists and persons protected by the Fourth Geneva Convention [text] were inside the hotel.

Spain has issued several arrest warrants [JURIST report] for the three soldiers, but the United States has refused to extradite Sgt. Shawn Gibson, Capt. Philip Wolford, and Lt. Col. Philip DeCamp [TrialWatch profiles]. The first warrant was issued [JURIST report] in October 2005 after a Spanish judge said that US officials had failed to cooperate in an investigation into the incident [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.



 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.