Spain's Constitutional Court has ruled that the nation's courts may investigate allegations of human rights abuses even if no Spanish citizens are involved.

The court said in its decision Wednesday that the principle of universal jurisdiction takes precedence over the existence, or not, of national interests.

The decision came from a case brought by Guatemalan Nobel peace laureate Rigoberta Menchu. She sought a probe of alleged genocide, murder, torture, and illegal detention of ethnic Indians in Guatemala between 1978 and 1986, while the country was under military rule.

Events covered in the lawsuit include a 1980 attack on the Spanish Embassy in Guatemala City, in which more than 35 people died.

Wednesday's decision reversed earlier rulings that Spain could only investigate cases in which the victims were Spanish.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.