The Spanish government wants a three-man US army tank crew to stand trial for the death of cameraman Jose Couso in Baghdad in 2003.
High Court judge Santiago Pedraz has issued three international arrest warrants for the soldiers after they fired at the Telecinco employee, fatally wounding him.
The judge is confident that Barack Obama's administration will want to co-operate with the investigation. But while Washington is quick to criticise other nations' non-compliance with what it deems justice, it has no enthusiasm for handing over its citizens to be subject to foreign justice systems - just ask the people of Bhopal.
Pedraz acted after the Supreme Court decided at the beginning of July to reopen the investigation into Couso's death. The highest court in Spain accepted an appeal made by Couso's family in the case that had been archived by the High Court in July last year.
The judge has now issued a "find and capture" warrant for the tank crew on the basis that "they can be deemed to have committed a crime against the international community," which amounts to homicide.
Pedraz has also decided to form a judicial commission to ascertain the exact circumstances surrounding Couso's death.
The magistrate will head the investigation and will visit the zones of the Jamurohaora Bridge from which the US tank fired, the Hotel Palestine where Reuters, Al-Jazeera and Abu Dhabi TV had their offices, plus any other places deemed to be relevant.
The Ministry of the Interior has confirmed that the detention order has been sent to Interpol via the Policia Nacional. This means that nations which are members of the Interpol network are obliged to detain the three troopers if they are in their jurisdiction.
The High Court has called on the US government to make available all documentation on the incident and to present declarations along with the three tank crew.
The court points out that these events occurred under the previous US administration of president George W Bush, whose government refused to co-operate with previous Spanish investigations, but Pedraz hopes Obama's attitude will be more positive.
It is the third time that Spain has issued arrest warrants for Sergeant Thomas Gibson, Captain Philip Wolford and Lieutenant Colonel Philip de Camp.
Couso was killed on April 8 2003 when he was hit by a shell from a US Mark I Abrams tank that fired at the Hotel Palestine in Baghdad, which at the time was a civil zone and used by reporters.
In 2006 the High Court filed the case having taken the view that Couso's death was an "act of war" and was not a premeditated attack on the journalists.
The Supreme Court later rejected this argument and ordered at the insistence of the family the investigation be reopened.
The High Court filed the case again last year and annulled the accusation of "homicide and a crime against the international community" against the three soldiers.
The view of the court then was there was "insufficient evidence" that the tank's crew that had fired at Couso deliberately.
A Ukrainian cameraman working for Reuters was also killed in the same tragedy. The shell had hit its office on the 15th floor and Couso was on the floor below.
Needless to say, Couso's family is delighted at Pedraz's decision and the reissuing of the arrest orders. The cameraman's sister Sabela Couso described it as a "triumph" and condemned the US army's constant stonewalling.
The ruling has also been welcomed by the four journalists who witnessed to the attack that resulted in Couso's death - Olga Rodriguez, Carlos Hernandez, Jon Sistiaga and Jesus Quinonero. They have stated their willingness to travel to Iraq with the judge and to go to the bridge and hotel with him.
They say that the tank fired from a position from which it would clearly have been able to see the signs for the hotel as well as the word "press" on the flak jackets worn by the journalists.
They watched the terrible events unfold from their own hotel balcony and dismiss the claims that the soldiers did not know the international press were at the hotel.
Spain's Minister of Justice Francisco Caamano has promised his department's full international co-operation should the judge request it to find and detain the soldiers.
It now remains to be seen whether the US government also respects justice.
For the US under Bush, justice was something it dispenses to the world and from which its citizens were largely exempt. Those, including Judge Pedraz, who believe the Obama administration views justice differently should not hold their breath.
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