Case closed for Soldiers who killed journalist in Iraq

BAGHDAD, IRAQ (November 2003) - U.S. Army (USA) M1A1 Abrams MBT (Main Battle Tank), and personnel from A Company (CO), Task Force 1st Battalion, 35th Armor Regiment (1-35 Armor), 2nd Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 1st Armored Division (AD), pose for a photo under the "Hands of Victory" in Ceremony Square, Baghdad, Iraq during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. The Hands of Victory monument built at the end of the Iran-Iraq war marks the entrance to a large parade ground in central Baghdad.

Spain’s Supreme Court has closed its criminal investigation into the 2003 killing of a journalist by tank fire in Iraq and canceled arrest warrants for three U.S. soldiers.  The incident occurred on Tuesday April 8, 2003, which has been dubbed “Bloody Tuesday” by journalists.

The then Lebanese information minister, Ghazi Aridi, also denounced the attacks saying: “The freedom the US is talking about is the freedom of killing everyone without exception, especially journalists, to prevent them from informing public opinion about the massacres committed in Baghdad and Iraqi cities.”

Aridi also stated that then US secretary of state, Colin Powell, called on journalists to leave Baghdad before the war started “so that no witness remains to testify about the committed massacres”.

Justice Santiago Pedraz ruled Tuesday that the case cannot continue because Spain’s government last year placed limitations on cases tried under its principle of universal justice that allows prosecution of incidents outside of the country.

Spanish cameraman Jose Couso died when a shell crashed into a Baghdad hotel. Also killed was Ukrainian reporter Taras Protsyuk.

A U.S. review found the use of force was justified after the soldiers responded “to what they said was hostile fire.”

The universal justice principle was used by former judge Baltasar Garzon in attempts to prosecute former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and al-Qaida leaderOsama bin Laden.

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