UN panel to investigate whether Spain is helping Franco regime victims
The United Nations on Thursday announced that it will send a commission to Madrid next week to examine whether the Spanish government is complying with international obligations to investigate the disappearances of people that occurred during the Civil War (1936-39) and subsequent Franco regime.
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Failed by Spain, the victims of Franco’s dictatorship seek universal justice
On Tuesday, lawyer Carlos Slepoy was expected to ask the judge to set a date for a videoconference session with several of the victims, and to officially investigate nine former government officials under Franco's regime: three former ministers, one of whom, José Utrera Molina, is the father-in-law of current Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón; two judges; and four police officers.
The plaintiffs agree that they no longer expect any justice from Spain, which is why they are turning to Argentina, which is still holding trials over the crimes of its own dictatorship. For many of them, the Buenos Aires proceedings are the last stretch in a long race that's still being run 38 years after Franco's death.
On May 8, Fausto Canales crossed the threshold of the Argentinean consulate to testify in a videoconference with Judge Servini de Cubría. He was tremendously disappointed when, just as he was about to explain how a group of Falangists dragged his father out of bed early one morning in 1936 to kill him, the judge decided to postpone the videoconference. She herself admitted that her decision was caused by a call she received from the Argentinean ambassador, warning her about the Spanish government's "unease" with the proceedings.
"It was my aunts who told me about my father, because my mother would start crying every time someone mentioned his name. I already know that the person who killed him is dead. To me, justice would be for a judge to say that he was murdered undeservedly and to clear his name after so many of us had to live with the burden of people murmuring, 'He must have done something.' Only a judge can do that. A judge must say that my father was the victim of a forced disappearance and that those were crimes against humanity." He no longer expects anything from Spain, either. "The Argentinean suit is our last chance."
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