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Ministerio Fiscal v. Shawn "Thomas" Gibson, Philip Wolford and Philip De Camp

This case summary is being revised and will be updated soon

Court Audiencia Nacional / National Court (High Court), Spain
Case number 144/2009
Decision title Auto
Decision date 14 July 2009
  • Ministerio Fiscal (Public Prosecutor)
  • Shawn "Thomas" Gibson
  • Philip Wolford
  • Philip DeCamp
Other names
  • José Couso Case
Categories War crimes
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Procedural history

Judicial investigations into the incident were initiated in 2005 by Judge Santiago Gomez (Audiencia nacional), who ordered the arrest of three US soldiers, Sgt. Shawn Gibson, Capt. Philip Wolford and Lt. Col. Philip De Camp, in October of the same year. 

However, this detention order was overturned in 2006 on issues of jurisdiction, before the Supreme Court of Spain decided to reissue arrest warrants in December 2006. The soldiers were then indicted in April 2007, but the charges were dropped due to lack of evidence.  

See also: 18-05-2007 - Recurso del Fiscal, 18 May 2007; Auto del Juez Santiago Pedráz, 24 May 2007; Auto de la sala de lo penal de la Audiencia nacional, 16 May 2008)

In 2009, Judge Gomez issued a new indictment against the same soldiers, for the same charges, stating that the testimony of three journalists provided evidence sufficient to support the initial homicide allegations.

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Related developments

In July 2010, the Spanish Supreme Court ordered a lower court to reopen the investigation. Subsequently, an arrest warrant was issued on 29 July 2010 by Judge Santiago Pedraz.

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Legally relevant facts

José Couso was a Spanish cameraman who died in Iraq in 2003, when US soldiers allegedly opened fire on a Baghdad hotel frequented by journalists. 

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Court's holding and analysis

On 14 July 2009, the Spanish Audiencia Nacional dismissed the charges, ruling that Judge Gomez had produced no new evidence against the soldiers.

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Additional materials