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An aberrant law

An aberrant law

More than 70 Francoist victims' organisations adamantly oppose the Spanish draft law known as the "Historic Memory Law", the approval of which by Congress is due to take place tomorrow, October 31st. [see communique at http://www.derechos.org/nizkor/espana/doc/hml.html ]

The central issue with respect to this draft law is that it fails to legally recognise the victims of the Franco regime, both from the Civil War itself and from the period of the dictatorship. Nor does it recognise the Spanish victims of World War II. These include those who fought in the allied armies and those who were killed in the National Socialist camps such as the Spanish Republicans killed in Mauthausen.

The draft implies the legality of the Franco regime and evidences an intention to defend this "legality" by placing on equal footing victims and criminals (those responsible for the crimes under international law).

It does not attempt to address the Resolutions 32(1) and 39(1) of the UN General Assembly (approved in 1946), by which the UN proclamed that the Franco regime was "founded with the support of the Axis powers," and "In origin, nature, structure and general conduct, the Franco regime is a fascist regime patterned on, and established largely as a result of aid received from, Hitler's Nazi Germany and Mussolini's Fascist Italy." This is the only definition of any legal validity which exists in international law and it is concealed in the Law of Memory by using terms of no legal value such as the declaration of "illegitimacy" -and not the nullity of - the summary trials that took place during the Dictatorship.

Congress will vote on a draft Law which deliberately ignores Resolution 95(I) of the UN General Assembly and comparative European jurisprudence with reference to victims of the Axis Powers, (in other words, the victims of Fascism and National Socialism) as well as jurisprudence directly related to the legal treatment of victims of serious human rights violations.

It is therefore a law contrary to international law, European jurisprudence and as a consequence it violates Spanish internal law itself. For this reason it is aberrant.

The current draft does not address the issue of the war children and the denial of their status as refugees; the issue of illegal exhumations of mass graves - which would be carried out with no judicial guarantees, (no judge would be present) and without following the international and domestic legal protocols for exhumations of this type; the problem of those Spaniards who fought against National-Socialism with the Allies and who were stripped of their nationality by Franco, (a situation which continues until today); the failure to declare null and void the summary trials and executions, and, the failure to properly guarantee access to the archives of the repression.

We believe that reconciliation for the Spanish can only be achieved with justice and that it is the responsibility of the Spanish State to provide remedies which include access to justice and reparations for victims of gross human rights violations, (in this case the victims of a fascist dictatorship), neither of which can be achieved without the legal recognition of the victims

30 October 2007
Equipo Nizkor

For further information:

Mobile telephone Spain: +34.696.517.387 [ESP]
Telephone Belgium: +32.71.798.634 [ENG/FRA]

More information about the Campaign on “The Question of Impunity in Spain and Crimes under Franco” available at: http://www.derechos.org/nizkor/espana/impu/

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The Question of Impunity in Spain and Crimes under Franco
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