Spain launches probe into attack against Iranian refugees in Iraq in 2009

EFE Madrid News, Jan. 4 – National Court Judge Fernando Andreu ruled that it has jurisdiction to investigate an Iraqi army attack against Iranian refugee camp, Ashraf, in Iraq in 2009. The attack killed 11 people.

The judge declared as permissible a complaint issued by the families of the residents against Iraqi commander General Abdol Hossein Al Shemmari, who is accused of eleven counts of murder and 36 of illegal detention. The hostages were also tortured and while at least 500 people were Injured in the attack.

Central Court no. 4 has called on al Shemmari to appear as a defendant in court.

Andreu said the court has jurisdiction to investigate these events after it asked Iraq to report on whether it is or has Investigated the attack on the refugee camp.

Baghdad responded to the question through its foreign ministry. According to the judgment, it said the government “has launched an investigation” and is committed to “finding a solution for the residents of Camp Ashraf under international law.”

The judge, however, deemed the Iraqi response unsatisfactory, since it did not say which authority is leading the investigation, the date on which it was launched, the steps that have been taken in this regard, or the results.

Lawyer Juan Garcés, who brought the famous indictment against former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and who represents the plaintiffs in the case, stressed in a statement that this is the first time Iraqi authorities are under investigation for committing serious violations of international law.

Andreu’s decision has also been hailed by the International Committee In Search of Justice (ISJ), which includes 4.000 members of Parliament and is chaired by the Spanish MEP Alejo Vidal-Quadras, vice president of the European Parliament.

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