Judge Andreu prosecutes an Iraqi general by a massacre of civilians in 2009

EL PAIS (Spain) – Yoldia JOSE – Madrid – 04/01/2011 – A judge at the Spanish National Court, Fernando Andreu, has summoned an Iraqi Lieutenant General, Abdol Hossein Al Shemmari, for allegedly ordering a deliberate and planned attack against a group of 3,500 unarmed civilians in Camp Ashraf, Iraq.

About 2,000 Iraqi troops launched an attack against the camp on July 28 and 29, 2009, firing indiscriminately at members of the Iranian Resistance, a clear violation of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians in times of war. The attack resulted in 11 deaths, 450 serious injuries, 36 arrests, and numerous accounts of illegal torture.

Al Shemmari is in active military duty and will likely refuse to appear before the Spanish judge. But that does not preclude the persistence of the prosecution.

Before admitting the lawsuit filed by lawyer Juan Garcés on behalf of those affected by the attacks, Judge Andreu sent a letter to Iraqi authorities seeking to ascertain whether they had initiated criminal proceedings to investigate the attacks.

Iraq responded that “it has launched an investigation into the matter and is committed to finding a solution for the residents of Camp Ashraf under international law.” It also criticized the judge, saying “the case lies outside Spanish jurisdiction and interferes in Iraq’s internal affairs.”

Insufficient response

The judge deemed the response provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iraq as “inadequate in every respect, and does not show the existence of an effective investigation or prosecution.” The response does not indicate which authority, and on what date, has conducted investigation or the steps that have been taken so far, he added.

In the end, the court deemed it within its jurisdiction to investigate the case and ordered that Al Shemmari should be apprised about the fact that he is being investigated for alleged crimes against the international community.

The Geneva Conventions stipulate that signatory States have the obligation to prosecute such crimes even if the victims are not nationals.

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