Argentine judge investigates Franco crimes

January 5, 2012

IPS news reports:

This month, federal judge María Servini asked Spain for information on Spanish military officials, as part of a new investigation based on a lawsuit filed in April 2010 by human rights lawyers in Argentina in the name of relatives of victims of the Franco dictatorship.  The judge requested the names of military officers involved in the Franco regime; lists of victims of forced disappearance and summary execution; lists of children who were stolen from their parents during the dictatorship; and the names of companies that allegedly benefited from the forced labour of political prisoners.  Servini initially shelved the lawsuit, on the grounds that investigations had been opened in Spain. But the Cámara Federal, a second instance court, ordered her to investigate whether Spain’s justice system was effectively taking action. The case thus landed back in the hands of Servini who, invoking the principle of universal jurisdiction for crimes against humanity, issued the request for a wide range of information, such as the addresses – or death certificates – of agents of the regime. The human rights lawyers who brought the suit presented Servini with a new document in which they stress that, after 36 years of dictatorship and 36 years of democracy in Spain, “not only is there not even a truth commission, but not one single child has had his or her identity restored. “The case was opened in Argentina because everything indicated that not even with a socialist government did the will exist for it to prosper there,” one of the Argentine lawyers, Beinusz Szmukler, told IPS, referring to the government of socialist prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (2004-Dec. 21, 2011).  To make his point, he pointed to the case against Spain’s internationally renowned judge Baltasar Garzón, who was suspended from his post in May 2010, accused of overstepping his jurisdiction for starting to investigate crimes committed during that country’s 1936-1939 civil war and subsequent dictatorship.

More here (IPS), here (BBC), and here (Clarín, Argentina). Recent news in Spanish in the implications for former Franco minister of Propaganda Manual Fraga here. Previous Volunteer coverage here.