A UK court on Monday dismissed a Spanish extradition request for Rwanda National Intelligence and Security Services head Karenzi Karake. Karake had been detained since his June arrest [JURIST report] at a London airport, and the court ordered [Reuters report] his release. A European Arrest Warrant [materials] for Karake was issued in 2008 [JURIST report] by Spanish High Court Judge Fernando Andreu for Karake’s alleged role [El Pais report, in Spanish] in the 1997 killings of three Spanish aid workers.
Spain’s assertion of jurisdiction for crimes that occur outside its boards has long been controversial. In February 2014, the country’s parliament approved a bill [JURIST report] to limit its use of so-called “universal jurisdiction.” In October 2013, a Spanish court indicted [JURIST report] former Chinese president Hu Jintao over the alleged genocide against Tibetans. Also in October, the Spanish government summoned [JURIST report] US Ambassador to Spain James Costos to discuss spying allegations in light of documents released by former National Security Agency (NSA) [official website] contractor Edward Snowden [JURIST news archive]. In April 2011, the Spanish National Court agreed to turn over [JURIST report] to the US an investigation of torture claims at Guantanamo Bay, after increased pressure from the US. In 2009, the Spanish Congress limited the country’s universal jurisdiction statute [JURIST report]. Unlike the recent bill, the 2009 law only applied prospectively, allowing any on-going investigations to proceed, including investigations of Israeli actions in Gaza in 2002, detainee abuse at Guantanamo Bay and allegations of war crimes and genocide in Rwanda, Tibet, Guatemala, and China [JURIST reports].