Spanish judge requests EU help in Iraq death probe

MADRID Thu Jul 24, 2014 12:20pm EDT

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MADRID (Reuters) - A Spanish High Court judge has asked for assistance from the European Union in his investigation into the killing of Spanish cameraman Jose Couso by a U.S. tank shell in Iraq in 2003, court documents showed on Thursday.

Spanish judicial authorities have sought the arrest and questioning of three U.S. soldiers accused of involvement in Couso's death. Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk, a Ukrainian, was also killed by the shell that crashed into a Baghdad hotel.

Judge Santiago Pedraz said in a court statement on Thursday it had been impossible to bring the soldiers to Spain to get them to declare in a Spanish court.

Pedraz said he had therefore turned over details of the case to Genocide Network, a division of the EU's judicial co-operation unit Eurojust based in the Netherlands.

The Genocide Network meets biannually to coordinate investigations into people suspected of having committed or participated in genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

In November 2004, a U.S. Defense Department report stated that U.S. forces bore "no fault or negligence" in the shelling of the hotel, where some 100 international journalists were staying at the time.

(Reporting By Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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