Practice Relating to Rule 159. Amnesty
Section A. Amnesty for participation in non-international armed conflicts
In the Pinochet case in 1998, Spain’s Sala de lo Penal de la Audiencia Nacional, sitting in full bench, held that Chile’s Decree-Law on General Amnesty of 1978 did not preclude the exercise of universal jurisdiction by Spanish courts. It stated:
Regardless of the fact that Decree-Law 2.191 of 1978 can be considered contrary to international ius cogens
, said Decree-Law is not tantamount to a true pardon in accordance with the Spanish rules applicable in this case and can be considered a rule that waives punishment for reasons of political expediency; it therefore does not apply in the case of someone who has been acquitted or pardoned abroad … but rather in the case of conduct … that is not punishable in the country in which the offence was committed … which has no effect on Spain’s extraterritorial jurisdiction in application of the principles of protection and universal persecution.