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Spanish prosecutors challenge Garzon probe into Franco-era disappearances

[JURIST] Spanish prosecutors Monday challenged a probe launched by Judge Baltasar Garzon [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] into the disappearances of tens of thousands of people from the beginning of the Spanish Civil War [BBC backgrounder] through the early years of Francisco Franco's dictatorship [BBC backgrounder], asserting that any wartime disappearances and executions are covered by Spain's 1977 amnesty law, passed to aid Spain in moving past Franco. Garzon, who launched his investigation last week [JURIST report], has argued that the mass disappearances constituted crimes against humanity and there is no applicable statute of limitations. Members of Spain's conservative minority Popular Party [official website, in Spanish] have also voiced their objection to the investigation, arguing [AFP report] that it would reopen old wounds. Reuters has more; the International Herald Tribune has additional coverage.

The Spanish parliament passed legislation [JURIST report; text] in 2007 condemning the Franco government, acknowledging its victims and setting aside money to compensate them. Garzon, widely known for his high-profile investigations of terror and human rights cases, previously called for the creation of a "truth commission" [JURIST report] to uncover Franco-era abuses. In September he began assembling a definitive registry [JURIST report] of the tens of thousands of victims of the Spanish Civil War and the Franco regime.

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