Text of the Letter sent to all MPs, except to those of the Popular Party, asking them to reject the "Historical Memory" bill proposed by the Government.
Madrid and Brussels, 15 November 2006
The Government will soon submit for debate the "Draft Law to recognise and broaden rights and to establish measures in favour of those who suffered persecution or violence during the Civil War and the dictatorship", published at the Official Gazette of the Cortes Generales (BOCG) on 8th September 2006, under the No. 121/000099.
The signatories hereto are the organizations who presented the documents entitled "The question of impunity in Spain and crimes under Franco" dated 14 April 2004 and "Between moral cowardice and illegality" dated 1st September 2006.
These two documents have the formal support of almost all the victims' organizations and the civil rights and human rights organizations which are involved in the subject of the "victims of Francoism". If you wish, you may refer to the signatures of the associations on the on-line edition of both documents, available on our specialised documentary web page.
As you are aware, the parliamentary vote in Spain is related to the position of the parliamentary groups, normally voting en bloc.
We would like to request that in this case you ask your parliamentary group for a free vote.
The reason for this request is based on three points which we consider fundamental to and inherent in the rule of law:
1) The right to justice and, as a consequence, to due process.
2) The supremacy of international law over internal law as established in articles 10.2 and 96.1 of the Spanish Constitution; a direct result of these provisions is that international human rights treaties and European human rights agreements together with their additional protocols are applicable to Spain and form part of its legal order.
3) Respect for norms of international human rights law, international criminal law, European law and in particular for norms of international law applicable to serious crimes, as has been expressly recognised by the European Court of Human Rights in its judgement of 17th January 2006 in the case of Kolk and Kislyiy v. Estonia.
This judgement is completely consistent with our position, which was set out in detail in the document "The question of impunity in Spain and crimes under Franco" and, therefore, we may state, with no doubt at all in law, that all the requests which appear in the "Plan of Action" of that document can be resolved in internal law under the framework of the current Constitution.
The consequence of this is that the draft law submitted by the Government is not in accordance with international law as interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights, nor is it in accordance with international norms concerning victims of gross violations of International Human Rights Law and serious violations of International Humanitarian Law.
If you vote in support of this draft law, you will permit the "victims of Francoism" to remain without the legal protection due to them under the rule of law.
As you are aware, to approve a law which violates international law would forever be indicative of one's moral, legal and historical responsibility as a representative of the popular will.
We sincerely hope that you reflect deeply on this subject and that you decide not to support this draft law with your vote.
Thanking you for your attention to this matter.
Gregorio Dionis, President of Equipo Nizkor
Ana Vieitez, President of afarIIREP
Dolores Cabra, Secretary-General of AGE
HR in Spain
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