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TOWARD THE END OF ETA

Spanish High Court rules out investigating ETA for genocide

Judges rule that Basque terrorist group did not single out certain groups in crimes

Former ETA military leader Garikoitz Azpiazu, alias “Txeroki,” at the High Court. Ampliar foto
Former ETA military leader Garikoitz Azpiazu, alias “Txeroki,” at the High Court. EFE

Spain’s High Court on Monday announced that it would not investigate the past leaderships of Basque terrorist group ETA for genocide but would examine whether its members had committed crimes against humanity since October 1, 2004 – the date when this type of crime became part of the Spanish penal code.

The court sided with Judge Juan Pablo González who on July 10 partially dropped complaints filed by the Dignity and Justice organization, the Luis Portero García Foundation, and Antonio Salva, a father of one of ETA’s victims.

The panel, which “categorically” rejected the plaintiffs’ allegations that ETA had committed genocide, ruled that crimes of genocide could only be considered as such if they were aimed at destroying certain national, racial, ethnic or religious groups.

“It is not possible to identify the group formed by the victims of crimes perpetrated by ETA as a national group,” the judges’ panel wrote in their ruling.

At the same time, the court explained that “the different groups of ETA victims cannot be considered a national group or part of a national group because in the Basque Country all the victims and their killers share the same national identity and one group are no less Spaniards than the other.”

It is not possible to identify the group formed by the victims of crimes perpetrated by ETA as a national group”

The judges also noted that the Supreme Court had also ruled against charging ETA with genocide in a past decision.

The plaintiffs wanted the High Court to recognize the crimes committed by the Basque terrorist group before October 1, 2004, when the law went into effect. They asked that the court recognize the international treaties signed by Spain and past rulings made by the European Court of Human Rights.

During the years that encompass this latest court investigation, ETA committed 12 murders, including the 2006 car-bombing at the Terminal 4 parking lot of the Adolfo Suárez-Madrid Barajas International Airport, in which two Ecuadorian nationals were killed, and the killing of French police officer Jean Serge Nérin on March 16, 2011.

French police last week arrested two of the current heads of ETA, David Pla, 40, and Iratxe Sorzabal, 43.

English version by Martin Delfin.

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