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Rationale

For over 15 years Spanish lawyer Jose Esteve Molto has made it his mission to seek legal justice for the Tibetan people. Universal jurisdiction law allows for perpetrators of serious crimes to be prosecuted in another state. Jose was joined by Alan Cantos of the Tibet support group Comite de Apoyo al Tibet (CAT) in pursuing a case in Spain that accuses five high profile Chinese leaders of crimes against humanity, torture and genocide towards the Tibetan people. After a long struggle of 9 years since the genocide lawsuit, the case has made recent progress, with an indictment of recent Chinese President Hu Jintao, and orders for arrest warrants for five others, including ex-President Jiang Zemin and ex-Prime Minister Li Peng. China has always responded with pressure, on both the government and the judiciary. Its response to these latest developments has been to exert huge amounts of pressure on the Spanish government to limit the application of their own laws - the same that were used in the Pinochet case – in order to stop this one case.

The time is ripe for a panel discussion on this issue, bringing together the team behind the case, a UK-based international legal expert, and a Tibetan legal scholar to look at the build-up to and the possible effects this politicisation of the law may have on the Tibetan victims, the case, Spain’s rule of law and the sanctity of its sovereignty, and the implications for other European states and their legal systems vis a vis their relationship with China. It will also present a chance to look at the act of resistance inherent in the application of universal jurisdiction laws against state leaders, and consequently the resistance needed on the part of other states to ensure the rule of international law can be practiced unhindered.

Chair: Dibyesh Anand
Moderator: Iona Liddell, Tibet Justice Centre
Speakers:
Alan Cantos – Director of Comite de Apoyo al Tibet (CAT) and international coordinator of the Tibet case in the Spanish court.
Jose Elias Esteve Molto – international lawyer, Tibet legal expert and main lawyer who researched and drafted the Tibet case in the Spanish court.
International universal jurisdiction expert from UK - tbc
Respondents:
Kate Saunders – Communications Director for International Campaign for Tibet and expert witness in the case. Kate will talk about the significance for other European countries of China's influence in Spain on the principles of universal jurisdiction.
Samdup Tenzin – Tibetan scholar and political commentator on policies related to the situation in Tibet and in the Tibetan refugee diaspora.

About the Speakers

Dr Dibyesh Anand is Head of Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Westminster.

Iona Liddell is Executive Director of Tibet Justice Center, which is a group of lawyers and academics who engage in education and advocacy in support of the human rights and self-determination of the Tibetan people.

José Elías Esteve Moltó, international lawyer and Tibet legal expert: Jose is the main lawyer who researched and drafted both lawsuits for crimes in Tibet and a recent one for crimes in Burma. He is a Professor in International Law at the University of Valencia. Jose has given several academic conference papers on Universal Jurisdiction, Human Rights, and Tibet ’s legal status, and has been published in several peer review journals in Spain, on these issues.

Alan Cantos, Director of Comite de Apoyo al Tibet (CAT): Alan has worked for the cause of Tibet for 15 years with CAT and is the international director of the universal jurisdiction cases on Tibet in the Spanish court.

Intl law expert - tbc

Kate Saunders works for the International Campaign for Tibet and was present in both cases as a witness, giving expert testimony based upon ICT’s reports on Tibet.

Samdup Tenzin is a Tibetan blogger who writes about issues concerning Tibetan people on Samtsul.blogspot.com