Spain rejects calls for probes into Franco-era crimes

21st September 2010, Comments 1 comment

Spain rejected on Tuesday a call to probe the disappearances of tens of thousands of people during the 1936-39 civil war and the subsequent Franco-era.

During an examination of Spain's human rights record in May at the UN Human Rights Council, Mexico asked Madrid to investigate cases of forced disappearances, to punish perpetrators and to provide redress to victims.

On Tuesday, Spain told the council it was rejecting the call, with a representative from Madrid saying that Spanish judges and courts are obliged to act according to legal principles that bind the judiciary.

Spain has consistently refused to open investigations, noting that in 1977, the country had voted for an amnesty on all crimes committed during General Francisco Franco's right-wing dictatorship.

Spanish judge Baltasar Franco was suspended in May from the bench at the National Court for abuse of power after he opened a probe into the disappearances, a move which far-right group claims violates the amnesty law passed two years after Franco's death.

But campaigners at the Human Rights Council called on Spain to rethink the amnesty law.

Spain should "repeal the 1977 amnesty law rather than charge a judge," said Human Rights Watch.

Amnesty International also called on Spain "to ensure that no amnesty law is applied to crimes against humanity."

"We strongly object to the charges against the investigating judge for having investigated the forced disappearance of more than 114,000 people," said a representative from the campaign group.

© 2010 AFP

1 Comment To This Article

  • dcat posted:

    on 22nd September 2010, 13:19:39 - Reply

    The suspended judge is Balthazar Garzon, not Franco. I hope some international body finally is able to compel Spain to do what Garzon tried to do and what the rest of the world is asking for.