On 13 April
2010, the Spanish Supreme Court upheld the previous decision of the Audencia Nacional (National Court, 30
June 2009), which closed the investigation into the Al Daraj attack of July 2002, in which 14 civilians were killed.
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), Gonzalo Boye, Antonio Segura, Spanish
counterparts, and Hickman & Rose (London), acting on behalf of victims of
the attack, are submitting an appeal to the Spanish Constitutional Court; the
highest national court.
judgment was based on two principal conclusions:
i) that there is an ongoing investigation into the case in
there are several civil cases pending in Israel, indicating that the case is
being dealt with under Israeli jurisdiction.
reject these conclusions. The Al-Daraj attack occurred on 22 July 2002. Since
then no effective investigations have occurred, and the Israeli High Court of
Justice has endorsed the State’s extrajudicial execution policy.
apparent that Israel is genuinely unwilling to investigate this crime; rather,
the State’s actions have shown a desire to protect alleged war criminals from
justice. PCHR have documented the failings of the Israeli investigative and
judicial system in a recent report (Genuinely
Unwilling, available here), while Adalah have prepared an expert opinion
detailing the ‘investigations’ conducted to-date in Israel with respect to the
Al Daraj attack .
that ‘justice delayed is justice denied’ and highlight the judgment of the
Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Del
Caracazo which stated that investigations which persist for a long period of
time without those responsible being identified constitute “a situation of
serious impunity and […] a breach of a State’s duty.”
of the Spanish Supreme Court represents a major setback in the pursuit of
international justice and victims’ rights. The victims and their legal team
have placed their trust in the criminal justice system, believing it to be the appropriate
mechanism whereby accountability and impunity can be combated.
universal jurisdiction is the only legal mechanism available to Palestinian
victims of Israeli war crimes. It is the only mechanism capable of ensuring
victims’ legitimate rights to the equal protection of the law and an effective
It is a
self-evident truth that if the law is to be respected, it must be enforced. The
alternative, whereby Palestinians are denied the laws protection, brings the
integrity of international law into question.
Those accused of war crimes and
crimes against humanity must be investigated and prosecuted in accordance with
international law. Victims’ legitimate rights must be upheld.
The fight for accountability will
be continued; the legal team involved in this case remain dedicated to the rule
of law, and will continue to pursue accountability for war criminals through
all available legal means.
The legal team also intend to
challenge the legality of Spain’s recent decision to restrict their universal
Background information relating to
the Al Daraj attack
For more information please call PCHR office in
8 2824776 – 2825893