Spanish war victims' kin turn to Europe rights court
The family of Luis Dorado Luque, a left-wing republican member of parliament who was killed by troops loyal to the ultimately victorious general Francisco Franco in 1936, wants a ruling that Madrid had violated the European human rights convention.
Madrid -- Relatives of a politician murdered during the Spanish Civil War are taking the Madrid government to the European Court of Human Rights after failing to obtain justice from the state, a defence group said Saturday.
"It is the first complaint of this type to go to the European court but there will surely be others," the head of the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory (ARMH), Emilio Silva, told AFP.
"Thousands of families have cases pending" before Spanish courts, including the Supreme Court, he said. "If their complaints are rejected, they will go to Strasbourg," the seat of the European court.
Silva said the family of Luis Dorado Luque, a left-wing republican member of parliament who was killed by troops loyal to the ultimately victorious general Francisco Franco in 1936, wanted a ruling that Madrid had violated the European human rights convention.
In 30 years of trying to recover Dorado's body, the family had failed to obtain any investigation from the state into his death or place of burial, his grandson Antonio Gutierrez told the daily Publico.
Silva said the body was presumed to be in a mass grave with 4-500 others in a Cordoba cemetery, while for years Spanish society had tried to pretend that Franco's dictatorship had never happened.
"We are now seeing a coming-to-terms with a traumatic past," he said.
In 2008 Madrid Judge Baltasar Garzon launched a probe into disappearances of 114,266 people during the civil war and the ensuing dictatorship, which lasted until Franco's death in 1975, with a view to filing charges for crimes against humanity.
He later bowed to a demand by public prosecutors and announced he was dropping the investigation.
But he also handed to regional courts the responsibility for the excavation of mass graves thought to contain the bodies of thousands of people who disappeared during the period.
Historians estimate that 500,000 people from both sides were killed in the civil war, which was sparked by Franco's Nationalist insurgency against the democratically elected left-wing Republican government.
A brutal wave of repression followed the Nationalists' victory as Franco sought to consolidate power.
ARMH, set up in 2000, has already recovered the remains of more than a thousand of those who disappeared, but separately from Garzon's investigation.