Argentina should not take up Franco crimes: prosecutor
A state prosecutor Friday recommended that Argentina turn down all lawsuits related to crimes under former Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, since they are being dealt with in Spain, a justice official said.
"Any country is qualified to prosecute crimes against humanity, but on condition that the country that has jurisdiction (over such crimes) has not done so already," prosecutor Federico Delgado said in a ruling, according to the official.
The ruling refers to requests by relatives of people executed under Franco, who ruled Spain from 1936-1975, that an Argentine court take up their lawsuits, after crusading Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon was indicted earlier this month for exceeding his authority.
Garzon, who ordered the arrest of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998 under the principle of "universal jurisdiction," is facing trial in Spain for investigating crimes by the Franco regime that were covered by a 1977 amnesty.
Despite his ruling, prosecutor Delgado said the principles of universal jurisdiction underlying the legal pursuit of crimes against humanity committed by the Franco regime were "unquestionable," the justice official said.
The prosecutor's ruling has been submitted to the presiding federal judge in the case, Maria de Cubria, for her consideration, the official added.
The plaintiffs are allowed to appeal the judge's final decision, he added.
Supporters of judge Garzon in Spain believe the 1977 amnesty law should be scrapped as it prevents investigations into crimes against humanity during the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War and Franco's ensuing iron-fisted rule.
© 2010 AFP