Spanish government open to trying Francoist crimes against humanity

New law would recognise the right to compensation for property and change the name of the Valley of the Fallen to Cuelgamuros

2 min
Valley of the Fallen.

MadridThe Spanish government is open to investigating Franco's crimes. The PSOE and Unidas Podemos have registered several amendments to the new law for democratic memory, one of which states that "war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and torture do not prescribe and cannot be the object of amnesty". This would call into question the 1977 amnesty law, which gave impunity. "The scope is reduced because death extinguishes criminal liability, but justice is not only to punish, but also to know the judicial truth," said the Unidas Podemos MP and secretary general of the Spanish Communist Party, Enrique Santiago, at a press conference.

The modification of the law's Article 2 is accompanied by that of the organic statute of the Public Prosecutor's Office. The Spanish government's original proposal already foresaw the creation of a Public Prosecutor's Office for human rights and democratic memory, but did not specify the initiative to promote criminal actions. Now it would be corrected and the prosecutor would be entrusted with the functions of starting proceedings and prosecute (...) in "events that constitute violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including those that took place during the coup d'état, the war and the dictatorship".

The Socialists have set themselves the goal of trying to pass the law with ERC's support, which on this issue has maintained a very ambitious position. ERC sources admit that the new standard driven from the ministry led by Felix Bolaños goes further than all previous projects, but it is not enough: they have presented up to 65 amendments, among them one that seeks to declare Franco's regime illegal.

In the thirty amendments, the coalition executive also highlights one that seeks to recognise the right to economic compensation of the victims of the dictatorship. "It recognises the right to compensation for confiscated property and economic sanctions drawn up for political, ideological, conscientious or religious beliefs," the amendment says. When the new law comes into force, a period of one year will be opened for an audit of the inventory of confiscated property and rights. This is a substantial change from the PSOE, since the initial proposal did not include compensation, which ERC did include in its alternative proposal, which the Spanish Parliament rejected a few weeks ago.

In addition, PSOE and Unidas Podemos want the Valley of the Fallen to return to its original name, Valley of Cuelgamuros. The coalition will also seek to ban portraits of those linked to the Francoist repression from being displayed in public spaces. It also seeks to complete the procedure for the revocation of honorary distinctions in the State security forces, as well as to suppress the noble titles granted to 33 regime loyalists, such as the duchies of Primo de Rivera, Calvo Sotelo and Queipo de Llano.