A Spanish court on Tuesday issued an international arrest warrant for China's ex-president Jiang Zemin in a case brought by activists alleging that Chinese forces committed genocide in Tibet.
Tibetan rights groups brought the case against Jiang, former prime minister Li Peng and three other Chinese officials, alleging they were responsible for "genocide, crimes against humanity, torture and terrorism" against Tibetans in the 1980s and 1990s.
Spain's National Court issued the arrest warrant under the doctrine of universal jurisdiction, which allows courts to try certain cases of human rights abuses committed in other countries.
It accepted the case because one of the plaintiffs, Tibetan exile Thubten Wangchen, has Spanish nationality, and the Chinese courts have not investigated the allegations.
The National Court wrote in a ruling released on Tuesday that there were "indications of participation" by the accused in the alleged crimes "given the political or military responsibility" they held at the time.
On those grounds the court said it "considered it necessary to approve the issuing of international arrest warrants" against the five.
The three other defendants are China's former state security chief Qiao Shi; the Chinese Communist party's leader in Tibet at the time, Chen Kuiyan; and Peng Pelyun, minister for family planning in the 1980s.
The Spanish court has also agreed to investigate a charge of repression in Tibet brought against China's latest ex-president Hu Jintao, who left office last year.