Spain officials will not review amnesty law

[JURIST] Spanish officials on Wednesday told the UN that they will not reexamine the state's action during the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War [BBC backgrounder] and the Franco era. In 1977, Spain enacted a law that granted amnesty for political crimes committed during these periods. Spanish officials testified [press release] before the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) [official website] that the state's action will not be revisited and stated that the Committee focused too much on the past. Ana Menendez Perez, the Permanent Representative of Spain to the UN, remarked that "[t]he delegation believed that both the Committee and the Convention were tools to enable the world and Spain to move forward. Any suggestion made by the Committee that the Spanish legal system was not impartial and independent was to be rejected." The recent statement came a day after Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] called on Spanish authorities [JURIST report] to address the legacy of Franco era disappearances, calling the failure to do so a "betrayal of justice."

Justice for offenses committed during the Franco regime has been slow. In October, the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances [official website] demanded [JURIST report] the Spanish government to do more to provide information on the whereabouts of individuals who disappeared during the civil war and Franco regime periods. Also last month, an Argentine judge issued warrants [JURIST report] for four former Spanish officials accused of human rights violations during the Franco regime. In September 2010 an appeals court in Argentina reopened [JURIST report] an investigation into crimes against humanity committed in Spain during the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War and the subsequent Franco regime. The case was brought to federal court in April 2010 [JURIST report; JURIST op-ed] by Argentinian relatives of Spanish citizens killed during the Franco regime. The Spanish Supreme Court charged National Court Judge Baltasar Garzon [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] with abusing power by ordering the exhumation [JURIST report] of 19 mass graves in Spain to assemble a definitive national registry of Civil War victims, despite the 1977 law. He was acquitted in a 6-1 decision [JURIST report] by the Spanish Supreme Court [official website] in 2012.

 

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