Ben-Eliezer. To be sued in Spain
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Anti-Israel rally in Madrid
Photo: AP
Spanish court green-lights Gaza probe
Spanish judge approves probe on 'crimes against humanity' allegedly committed by several Israeli officials during bombing of Gaza in 2002, after ascertaining Israel is not holding legal proceedings on matter

A Spanish judge has decided to go ahead with a probe into alleged crimes against humanity by top Israeli military figures after studying documents received from Israel, judicial sources said Friday.


The documents, received by Judge Fernando Andreu after translation by the Israeli embassy, show that the State has not launched any legal procedure concerning a 2002 bombing of Gaza, the sources said.


Andreu agreed last month to pursue a complaint of crimes against humanity against seven senior Israeli military figures over the bombing, sparking strong objections from Israel.


He was acting in line with Spain's assumption of the principle of universal jurisdiction in alleged cases of crimes against humanity, genocide, and terrorism.


But he could only proceed if the alleged crimes aren't subject to a legal procedure in the country involved.


The judge now plans to officially notify former Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer and six senior military officials of the inquiry, and also seek witness testimony from Palestinians, the sources said.


The complaint, filed by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, concerns an Israeli air attack on July 22, 2002, on Gaza City which killed Hamas leader Salah Shehadeh, along with 14 civilians, mainly infants and children.


Some 150 Palestinians were also wounded, according to the allegations.


In accepting the case last month, Andreu said the attack in a densely-populated area "showed signs of constituting a crime against humanity."


Ehud Barak, Israel's current defense minister, has rejected the complaint as "delirious" and said he would do "everything possible to get the investigation dismissed."


First published: 02.27.09, 18:58
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