Spain's Parliament has approved a ruling party proposal that will severely curb the powers of the country's courts to pursue cases of genocide and other atrocities committed abroad.

The proposal to restrict use of the universal justice principle includes a clause that will halt current probes, including one in which arrest warrants have been issued for several former Chinese leaders for alleged genocide in Tibet.

The government recently announced that it planned to reform the legislation after China expressed anger over the probe and hinted it could damage relations.

Spain previously applied the universal justice principle to try to chase al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

The conservative Popular Party used its parliamentary majority to pass the proposal late Tuesday.