Spain Drops Probe into Chinese Tibet Crackdown

Spain's National Court has halted an investigation into alleged Chinese human rights violations in Tibet.

Investigative magistrate Santiago Pedraz said Friday the court can no longer handle the case because a new law restricts Spain's jurisdiction over crimes committed abroad.

Pro-Tibetan rights groups had filed a complaint against China, alleging that several Chinese officials, including two government ministers, were responsible for repressing protests against Chinese rule in Tibet in March 2008.

The suit said the officials' actions led to at least 203 deaths, with about 1,000 injured along with nearly 6,000 disappearances.

But late last year, the Spanish parliament passed a law restricting human rights investigations to cases involving Spanish victims or those in which the alleged perpetrators are in Spain.

Pedraz says at the time the 2008 complaint was filed, the court was entitled to investigate international cases dealing with charges such as genocide and crimes against humanity under Spain's principle of 'universal jurisdiction.'

The practice has caused tension with other countries, particularly Israel and China.

Spain's interest in universal jurisdiction first became known in 1998 when Judge Baltasar Garzon issued an arrest warrant for former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. The case never went to trial.