Communique on the State's refusal to investigate serious crimes against human rights under Franco.
1) On 16th December 2005 an Order of the Ministry of the Presidency ("ORDEN PRE/3945/2005") was published in the Official Gazette establishing the regulatory basis for the provision of subsidies for activities relating to the victims of the civil war and of Francoism.
Article 5 of the said Order provides: "The following projects may be eligible for subsidies, details of which will be specified in the corresponding official announcements: Investigation, exhumation and identification of persons who disappeared violently during the civil war or during the subsequent political repression and whose whereabouts are unknown, carried out under the responsibility of individuals or groups of individuals who claim a legitimate interest".
We believe that these specific activities are part of the legal responsibility of the State and cannot be delegated or sub-contracted to individuals or groups of individuals without violating the existing law and international and European norms relating to:
- a) Legal protocol concerning the procedure for disinterment and identification of victims.
- b) Binding norms of forensic anthropology in the European Union.
- c) Norms deriving from the international obligations of the Spanish state and in particular those deriving from International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law.
2) On 3rd January 2006 we sent a letter to the Vice-President, Doña María Teresa Fernández de la Vega Sanz, President of the Inter-Ministerial Commission to Study the Victims of the Civil War and Francoism to which we have not received a reply.
3) On 18th January 2006 a meeting was held with D. Álvaro Cuesta Martínez in his position as President of the Congressional Commission of Justice, during which the situation and the gravity of the same was explained to him in detail. Señor Álvaro Cuesta Martínez recognised that it was necessary to modify these points in the Order of the Ministry and that he would request the same.
The said meeting, which was requested by Equipo Nizkor was also attended by the Association of Relatives and Friends of the 2nd Republic Victims of Reprisals by the Franco Regime, the Association of Salamanca for Memory and Justice and the Manuel Azaña Association.
4) On 16th March 2006 there was a meeting with the Deputies D. Ramón Jáuregui Atondo and Pedro José Muñoz as representatives of the Socialist Parliamentary Group, at which again the situation and its seriousness were explained in detail. At the end of this tense meeting, Deputy Ramón Jáuregui promised to send a letter to the Vice-President of the Government setting out our demands.
This meeting, requested by Equipo Nizkor, was also attended by the Association of Relatives and Friends of the 2nd Republic Victims of Reprisals by the Franco Regime, Association for the creation of an Archive of the Civil War, the International Brigades, the Children of the War, the Resistance and the Spanish Exile - AGE (Archive of War and Exile), the Association of Salamanca for Memory and Justice and the Manuel Azaña Association
In view of the amount of time that has passed without any solution being offered to the situation and given the seriousness of these acts which may constitute a crime, we address the other associations of victims of the State, national and international human rights organizations and public opinion as follows:
a) We consider that "Investigation, exhumation and identification of persons who disappeared violently during the civil war or during the subsequent political repression and whose whereabouts are unknown", are the non-delegable responsibility of the State.
b) An order of the Ministry of the Presidency is not of sufficient legal ranking to establish norms of a criminal nature and, less still, to amend criminal laws which deal with "the investigation, exhumation and identification of persons who disappeared violently..."
c) This type of proceeding should be carried out under legal supervision, by means of ordinary judges and with the participation of the public prosecutor; it should be a matter of ordinary proceedings with the necessary procedural guarantees of any state governed by the rule of law.
d) The Order of the Ministry of the Presidency could be interpreted as legislation outside the criminal legal system in force ( therefore constituting a legal exception) and as such, violative of the existing constitutional order and of the European Convention on human rights.
e) The treatment that should be given to the "investigation, exhumation and identification of persons who disappeared violently..." is also regulated by laws at the European level and by laws arising from international conventions.
f) Illegal disinterment is a crime and, in this case, one exacerbated by the fact that it concerns possible victims of crimes against humanity; thus illegal disinterments will contaminate and/or destroy evidence and elements of proof of the commission of the same.
g) We call on all the victims associations and their families to ensure that this illegal method of proceeding is stopped, as it will signify the definitive disappearance of the remains, the manipulation of which is equivalent to collaboration in the consummation of the crime that was originally committed.
h) We demand that the Public Prosecutor complies with the provisions of the Organic Statute of the Public Prosecution Service and takes action to defend the victims who are unable to have any judicial representation, guaranteeing the right to justice and due process.
In Madrid, 29 March 2006.
- AFARIIREP - (Association of Relatives and Friends of the 2nd. Republic Victims of Reprisals by the Franco Regime), Ana Viéitez Gómez
- Association for the Creation of an Archive of the Civil War, the International Brigades, the Children of the War, the Resistance and the Spanish Exile - AGE (Archive of War and Exile) Dolores Cabra, Secretary-General
- Association of Asturias for Historial Memory, Marisa Marinez Caldevilla, President, and Víctor Luis Alvarez, Speaker of the Borad of Directors Association of Salamanca for Memory and Justice, Fermín Sanchez Martín, Secretary
- Disappeared of the Civil War and Republican Exile (DESPAGE), Antonio Cruz González, Coordinator
- Equipo Nizkor, Gregorio D. Dionis, president
- Forum for Memory Federation (Forum for Memory, Eastern Asturies; Forum for Memory, Segovia; Forum for Memory, Burgos; Forum for Memory, La Rioja; Forum for Memory, Santander; Forum for Memory, Madrid Autonomous Community; Forum for Memory, Valencian Country; Forum for Memory, Castilla la Mancha; Forum for Memory, Huelva; Forum for Memory, Jaén), José María Pedreño, President of the Federation.
- Friends of the Fallen for Liberty (1939–1945), Historical Memory of the Murcia Region, Floren Dimas Balsalobre, Regional President.
- Gragero Group, León, Mario Osorio, Secretary
- Luis Bello Foundation, José Esteban, President
- Manuel Azaña Association, Isabelo Herrero, President
- Republican Institute of Human Rights, Félix Rodríguez Sanz, President
DDHH en España
|This document has been published on 31mar06 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.