[JURIST Europe] The Spanish National Court (Audiencia Nacional) [official website] has taken jurisdiction over a case investigating Guatemalan officers accused of genocide and torture during the civil unrest from 1978 to 1986. The allegations were made 1999 by Guatemalan Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchu [Nobel Prize profile], who felt she could not get justice for the atrocities committed during Guatemalan civil war in her own country.
The case was previously barred from proceeding by rulings from the Spanish Constitutional Court [official website in Spanish], which had stated that Spanish courts could only try cases of crimes abroad that involved Spanish victims. Recently, however, the Court ruled [JURIST report] that Spanish courts could exercise universal jurisdiction [Amnesty International backgrounder] even when no Spanish citizens were involved. Expatica has more.
Angela Onikepe is an Associate Editor for JURIST Europe, reporting European legal news from a European perspective. She is based in the UK.