The Palestinian Centre for Human
Rights (PCHR) notes that the Spanish authorities refused to provide Avi
Dichter, former Director of the Israeli General Security Services, with
requested immunity prior to a planned visit to Spain. Mr. Dichter is currently
the subject of a criminal lawsuit before the Spanish Courts in relation to his
role in the Al Daraj assassination of July 22, 2002.
PCHR applaud this move, noting a
welcome return to the rule of law. Spain, along with all other High Contracting
Parties to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, is subject to a legal obligation to
search for and prosecute all those suspected of committing grave breaches of
the Geneva Conventions.
Spain’s move comes as a
reaffirmation of the desire to ensure that Spain does not become a ‘safe haven’
where suspected war criminals can travel with impunity. However, PCHR note that
following intense political pressure from the Israeli government, Spain
recently modified its existing universal jurisdiction laws. Such political
pressure has no place in the international legal order. All those suspected of
committing international crimes must be investigated, and if appropriate prosecuted;
victims’ rights must be upheld. PCHR urge Spain to repeal recent amendments to
the universal jurisdiction law, noting that these amendments way violate
Spain’s international obligations.
The Al Daraj case, brought by PCHR,
Hickman & Rose (UK) and Spanish partners Gonzalo Boye, Antonio Segura, Juan
Moreno and Raul Maillo, is currently pending before the Spanish
Those implicated include: former Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, his former military
advisor Michael Herzog, former IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Moshe
Yaalon, former Shin Bet Director Avi Dichter, former Israel Air Force Commander
General Dan Halutz, former head of the IDF Operation Branch Major-General Giora
Eiland, and former Southern Command Chief Doron Almog.