Spain court dismisses charges against US soldiers for killing journalist in Iraq

[JURIST] The Spanish National Court [CJA backgrounder] on Tuesday dismissed charges against three US soldiers who were accused of being involved in the death of Spanish cameraman Jose Couso [advocacy website, in Spanish]. The soldiers allegedly opened fire on a Baghdad hotel frequented by Western journalists in 2003 without provocation, killing two cameramen. The court recommended that the case be closed [La Opinion Coruna report, in Spanish] because Judge Santiago Pedraz Gomez [JURIST news archive], who reinstated the charges [JURIST report] in May, had produced no new evidence against the soldiers. Homicide charges filed against Sgt. Shawn Gibson, Capt. Philip Wolford and Lt. Col. Philip DeCamp [Trial Watch profiles] were initially dropped in 2007 due to a lack of evidence. US authorities have claimed that the attack was in response to hostile fire and was consistent with the rules of combat.

Gomez ordered [text, in Spanish; JURIST report] the soldiers' arrest in October 2005 after initiating investigations [JURIST report] into the incident in June of that year. The order was reversed by a panel of judges for the National Court in 2006. This reversal was then overturned by Spain's Supreme Court, resulting in arrest warrants being reissued [JURIST report] in January 2007. The soldiers were indicted [JURIST report] in April of that year.



 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.