Monday, October 18, 2021

Argentina returns the favour

In the early 2000s, Argentinian victims of the Dirty War, denied justice due to a local amnesty, sought justice in Spanish courts, who obligingly convicted agents of that country's dictatorship of crimes against humanity under Spain's "universal jurisdiction" law. But Argentina wasn't the only country with a repressive dictatorship which engaged in crimes against humanity and then wrote itself an amnesty: Spain was like that too! And now, Argentina's courts are returning the favour, indicting a former Spanish Minister forf murder for their role in the Franco regime's crimes:

An Argentinian judge investigating cases that happened during the Franco dictatorship in Spain has indicted a former Spanish minister on four counts of homicide.

Judge Maria Servini de Cubria, sitting in Buenos Aires, issued the ruling against Rodolfo Martín Villa, 87, interior minister between 1976 and 1979.

The judge wrote that she considered Martín Villa “the prima facie perpetrator criminally responsible for the crime of aggravated homicide, repeated on at least four occasions, of which Pedro María Martínez Ocio, Romualdo Barroso Chaparro, Francisco Aznar Clemente and Germán Rodríguez Saíz were victims”.

This is good: the crimes of the Franco regime are still unaddressed, thanks to their self-serving amnesty, and it has allowed fascist attitudes to persist throughout their government. In Argentina, international trials helped open the door for rejection of the amnesty and for justice to be delivered at home. And hopefully the same will happen with Spain.