Relatives of Franco victims lobby Europe for justice

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The Spanish government on Friday announced its refusal to grant a request lodged last October by Argentina for the arrests and extraditions of 20 former members of the fascist regime of General Francisco Franco for human rights abuses, including torture. Under Argentine law, the officials, who include two Francoist ministers, can be prosecuted for crimes against humanity even though committed in Spain. Madrid’s rejection of the Argentine request, tabled via Interpol, was a further bitter blow for associations representing the relatives of the victims of Francoist repression who just days earlier had travelled to Brussels to demand that European Union institutions exert pressure on Spain to render justice for the atrocities committed under the 36-year dictatorship. Mediapart Brussels correspondent Ludovic Lamant reports.

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Argentina is the only country in the world where crimes committed in Spain by the Franco regime are open to prosecution. The South American country’s judicial system bases its competence to investigate and eventually judge such offences under the notion of ‘universal jurisdiction’, whereby of crimes against humanity, which are not subject to a statute of limitations, can be tried outside of the national boundaries within which they were committed.