Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Argentina / Spain / Universal Jurisdiction

Argentina Tries Probing Crimes of Franco's Spain
By Almudena Calatrava
Associated Press dispatch on Yahoo! News, April 14, 2010
"Argentine human rights groups are turning the tables on Spain, hoping to open a judicial probe of murders and disappearances committed during the Spanish Civil War and the early years of Gen. Francisco Franco's dictatorship. Lawyers representing Argentine relatives of three Spaniards killed during the 1936-39 war will ask the federal courts here Wednesday to open an investigation, and hope to add many more cases in the months to come. Such cross-border human rights probes have long been the specialty of Spain's crusading investigative judge Baltasar Garzon, whose case against Chilean Gen. Augusto Pinochet in 1998 helped lead to the undoing of amnesties that had protected Latin America's dictators. But Garzon himself now faces a potentially career-ending trial on charges of abusing his authority by opening an investigation into deaths and disappearances in Franco's Spain. So Garzon's supporters now hope to launch the same investigation, citing the same principles of international law -- from Buenos Aires. 'We have many hopes for this case,' said Santiago Macias, vice president of Spain's Association for the Recuperation of Historic Memory, which helps Spaniards search common graves for anti-Franco victims of the civil war and dictatorship. Attorney Carlos Slepoy, a specialist in human rights law, told The Associated Press the plaintiffs are invoking the principle of universal jurisdiction, which provides that genocide and crimes against humanity 'can be prosecuted by the courts of any country.' 'It's a shame that in democracy we have to seek Argentine justice, the justice system of another country, to investigate an issue that in our supposedly strong democracy we haven't been able to do,' Macias told the AP before joining the group in Buenos Aires. 'The same thing happened in Argentina when Spanish justice was the first to throw down the glove' in investigating human rights crimes committed during Argentina's 1976-83 dictatorship, Macias said. [...]"

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be constructive in your comments. - AJ