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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Spain tells UN no rethink on post-Franco amnesty

Spain Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. (AFP)
Spain Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. (AFP)
Spain Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. (AFP)

Spain told a critical United Nations panel on Wednesday that a 1978 amnesty for political crimes committed during the 1936-39 civil war and the right-wing dictatorship of Francisco Franco would not be reviewed, despite growing calls for a rethink.

Spanish officials were testifying before the U.N. Committee on Enforced Disappearances two days after Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon and human rights groups urged the committee to tell Spain it was legally bound to re-examine the period.

"The moves undertaken by the Spanish state in 1978 will not be revisited," Spain's ambassador in Geneva, Ana Menendez Perez, told the panel of 11 independent legal experts.

Garzon says at least 152,000 civilians disappeared, presumably killed, behind the lines of Franco's Nationalist forces during the civil war and then in the first 12 years of Franco's rule, up to 1951.

The general died in 1975 and Spain became a democracy two years later.

British historian Paul Preston, in his book "The Spanish Holocaust", estimates that 200,000 civilians deemed to back the left-wing Republican government were killed in the army uprising that Franco led and in the following years.

Domestic and foreign critics of Spain's stance, including the rights group Amnesty International, say many thousands of victims still lie in unmarked graves, leaving ageing relatives ignorant of what happened to them, 70 years on.

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Tags:  World  Spain  Civil War  Francisco Franco  





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