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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Spanish Judge Calls Top Chinese Officials to Account for Genocide

November 17, 2009

The Epoch Times
November 14, 2009

MADRID, Spain -- In a groundbreaking case,
following a two-year investigation, a Spanish
judge has accepted charges of genocide and
torture in a case filed against five high-ranking
CCP officials for their role in the persecution of Falun Gong.

This is the first time that a court has
recognized the campaign against the group as
legally fitting the definition of genocide. If
the defendants were in Spain, the Court could
call them before the Judge for a hearing.

"This historic decision by a Spanish judge means
that Chinese Communist Party leaders responsible
for brutal crimes are now one step closer to
being brought to justice,” said Carlos Iglesias,
a local lawyer representing the plaintiffs.

Between 2003 and 2007 fifteen victims of
persecution filed criminal complaints against
each of the five officials under a Spanish law
that enables individuals or their lawyers to
initiate private prosecutions (acciones
populares). Four complaints were combined into
one case, the facts of which a judge from Spain’s
National Court (Audiencia Nacional) has been
investigating since 2006; the fifth was added later.

On Nov. 11, Iglesias received a letter from the
National Court saying the charges of genocide and torture had been accepted.

Among the accused is ex-leader of the Chinese
Communist Party, Jiang Zemin. Jiang is widely
acknowledged as the initiator and primary driver
behind the campaign launched in 1999 to
“eradicate” Falun Gong. According to Chinese
regime statistics at the time, an estimated 70 to
100 million people were practicing the discipline
that combines slow-moving exercises and spiritual teachings.

In order to implement Jiang’s decision to wipe
out the group, the country’s state-run media,
security apparatus, and network of "re-education
through labor camps” were mobilized in full
force. Since then, experts estimate that hundred
of thousands, possibly millions, of practitioners
have been sent to labor camps, prisons, and thought reform classes.

Human rights groups and Western media reports
have documented the systematic use of torture to
force them to renounce their faith. According to
the Falun Dafa Information Center, over 3,000 are
documented to have been killed, many due to torture, since 1999.

"The perpetrators of the genocide and torture
will be confronted with two trials," Iglesias
said. "One of justice in front of the courts, and
another, judgement in front of history, for
having committed the biggest of all atrocities:
the persecution of millions of persons whose only
intention is to improve their ethical, moral, and
spiritual qualities, following universal values."

Also facing charges of genocide and torture in
the Spanish case is Luo Gan, former head of the
610 Office, an extrajudicial agency set up to
lead and coordinate the campaign against Falun
Gong. Chinese human rights lawyers have compared
the 6-10 Office to Nazi Germany’s Gestapo in its
operations, brutality, and extraordinary authority.

The other three accused are Bo Xilai, current
Party Secretary for Chongqing and former Minister
of Commerce; Jia Qinglin, the fourth-highest
member of the Party hierarchy; and Wu Guanzheng,
head of an internal Party disciplinary committee.
The charges against the three are based on their
alleged proactive advancement of the anti-Falun
Gong campaign during their time as top officials
in Liaoning, Beijing, and Shandong respectively.

According to evidence presented before the court,
Jia had reportedly given speeches urging lower
officials to persecute Falun Gong and commended
security units for their "success" in the "fight"
against the spiritual practice. In 2002, he made
the campaign one of Beijing's top five priorities.

A Pulitzer Prize-winning article from 2000 by the
Wall Street Journal’s Ian Johnson documents how
financial punishments and political pressure
imposed by Wu on his subordinates led Weifang
city authorities to torture—and sometimes kill --
local residents who practiced Falun Gong.
Next Steps

Each of the five accused officials will now
receive a rogatory letter (letter of request)
from Judge Ismael Moreno via diplomatic channels,
according to Iglesias. The letter will include
more than 20 questions relating to the
individual’s involvement in the persecution
against Falun Gong and will be written in both
Spanish and Chinese. Failure to respond to the
questions would bolster Judge Moreno's case for
issuing an international arrest warrant. Iglesias
said the accused will likely have four to six weeks to reply.

Judge Moreno has spent two years investigating
the case, following a Constitutional Court
(Tribunal Constitucional) ruling from June 2006
that ordered Spanish courts to accept the case
based on a law enabling them to exercise
universal jurisdiction. This legal principle
allows domestic courts to hear cases of genocide
and crimes against humanity regardless of where
they occur and what the nationality of the defendant.

Evidence considered by the judge during the
investigation process included written
testimonies from fifteen Falun Gong practitioners
and oral testimonies from seven. The judge also
relied on reports by Amnesty International, Human
Rights Watch, the Human Rights Law Foundation,
and the U.N. Commission of Human Rights to reach his decision, Iglesias said.

"The application of universal jurisdiction now
brings this case to a decisive stage and shows
that the Spanish justice system will defend
victims of a genocide that is happening in the
21st century in China and that there will not be
impunity for these crimes," Iglesias said. "When
one carries out the crime of genocide or torture,
it is a crime against the international community
as a whole and not only against Chinese citizens.
Spain is emerging as a defender of human rights and universal justice."

The case is part of both a broader trend in Spain
and a larger effort by Falun Gong adherents and
their lawyers to seek redress outside of China.
Spanish courts propelled the movement of
prosecuting international crimes in national
courts when a judge issued an extradition request
for Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998.
More recently, they have begun investigations
into genocide in Guatemala and Tibet. Meanwhile,
more than seventy Falun Gong cases have been filed in at least 30 countries.

Iglesias said the plaintiffs may immediately ask
for international criminal arrest warrants to be
issued for the accused. "In Spain, you can’t have
a trial without the defendants being present,” he
said. If the accused do not travel to Spain, the
justice system will work with other countries
that have legal treaties with Spain to extradite
them should they travel to those countries.

"We have to be vigilant when they travel,"
Iglesias said. "Justice and the lawyers will not
stop -- they are knocking on the criminals' doors."

Additional reporting by Zulema Núñez in Spain.
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