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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Spain's Constitutional Court accepts Tibet case appeal

January 9, 2017

Comité de Apoyo al Tíbet, January 6, 2017 - After a wait of over a year and a half, the Spanish Constitutional Court has accepted the appeal filed by the Comité de Apoyo al Tíbet (CAT) and co-plaintiffs Thubten Wangchen and the Fundación Casa del Tíbet, after the case of the Tibetan genocide was closed in 2014.

The Constitutional Court's Fourth Appeal Court considers that "said appeal involves matters of special constitutional relevance (Article 50.1 of the LOTC, Constitutional Court Law) as the possible breach of fundamental law denounced therein could derive from law STC 155/2009; FJ 2 c."

As a result of the Audiencia Nacional's order to issue international arrest warrants against former leaders of the Chinese Communist Party - including Jiang Zemin and Li Peng - in 2013, the Spanish Government collapsed under the pressure from Beijing and revoked Spain’s law of universal jurisdiction on 10 March 2014. The Tibet case was immediately closed, sparking a chain reaction of closures of other cases (Guantanamo, Couso, Freedom Fleet against Israeli authorities, Falun Gong, etc.)

In a ruling on 6 May 2015, the Supreme Court ratified the decision to close the case, and it was against this verdict that an appeal was filed in the Constitutional Court, as the plaintiffs believed that the legal revocation of universal jurisdiction breached several precepts of the Spanish Constitution.

José Elías Esteve Moltó, the chief lawyer and author of the Tibet cases, commented: "The Constitutional Court's acceptance of the appeal opens the door once again to hope, not only for the Tibetan victims, but also for other serious conflicts that had been abandoned. What is more, the fact that the judges will debate in depth the controversial cutting of the wings of the law of universal jurisdiction, reopens the debate on whether international law can be relegated to second place, particularly when the domestic legal reform was publicly supported by an autocratic government and justified by a supposed and unquestionable interest of the defence of Spain´s public debt."

Alan Cantos, CAT director, declared: "Not only is there now hope that the Tibetan victims will not be abandoned, but there is also hope that universal justice will be re-established in Spain, where its application was exemplary and admired. We must learn to say NO to China. Our relationship with the giant cannot be that of "Facebook friends", a euphemism to sell ourselves and to sell anything including our basic principles."

Over the next few months the Constitutional Court judges will decide whether the reform of universal jurisdiction is unconstitutional, which would make it necessary to reopen the case, or whether, on the contrary, the case should be closed definitively, in which case the CAT's only remaining recourse would be to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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