Argentina's investigation of Human Rights Crimes in Franco era Spain
[exerpt taken from IPSnews.net in an article by Marcela Valente, 28.12.11]


The human rights lawyers who brought the suit presented Servini with a new document in which they stress that, after 36 years of dictatorship and 36 years of democracy in Spain, "not only is there not even a truth commission, but not one single child has had his or her identity restored.


The aim of the legal action is not to question Spain's amnesty law, which was recently upheld in the face of an attempt to repeal it, but to exercise universal jurisdiction in Argentina with respect to crimes "that offend and injure humanity, and are still unpunished," the lawyers stated.

Human rights organisations put the number of victims of forced disappearance during Spain's civil war and the Franco dictatorship at 113,000. Some 2,500 mass graves have been located and excavated over the last few years.

In addition, there are an estimated 30,000 cases of children who were stolen in Spain and given or sold to adoptive families. But no legal action has been taken in any of these cases in Spain, and the now-adult children have never discovered their real identities or been reunited with their biological families.

In solidarity with these cases, the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo have joined the case as co-plaintiffs. The Grandmothers association was created to search for the children who were "disappeared" along with their parents in Argentina during the dictatorship and raised by military couples or families who adopted them in good faith.

Szmukler and the rest of the lawyers say they will not be satisfied with a declaration merely recognising that the genocide took place, and promising to find out the truth about what happened.


"In the case of Spain, when we presented the lawsuit there were at least 13 (dictatorship-era) military officers still alive, and there are also the cases of 30,000 people who are unaware of their origins and identity," the lawyer said.

"We want an in-depth investigation, to determine the truth and establish who was responsible. If Spain does not do it, we will do it here. I hope we get cooperation," he added. (END)