In October 2008, Judge Baltasar Garzón declared himself competent to open Spain’s first criminal investigation of Franco-era atrocities. His decision formally classified the 114,000 executions and thousands of forced disappearances that occurred during the Spanish Civil War and ensuing dictatorship as crimes against humanity. It also accused Francisco Franco and thirty-four of his generals and ministers of having committed these crimes. Throughout Spain’s transition to democracy and beyond, Spain has adhered to a “pact of forgetting,” formalized by a 1977 amnesty law, in which political leaders agreed that regime members would not be prosecuted for their acts. Given this traditional silence and the fact that the majority of the acts concerned were committed seventy years ago, critics disputed Judge Garzón’s jurisdiction over the action. This Note considers four jurisdictional obstacles to prosecution and whether international law provides a method through which they might be overcome.
Angela M. Guarino,
Chasing Ghosts: Pursuing Retroactive Justice for Franco-Era Crimes Against Humanity,
B.C. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev.