Ruling on Baltasar Garzón is Good News, But Crimes Must be Investigated, says Amnesty International

For Immediate Release

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Ruling on Baltasar Garzón is Good News, But Crimes Must be Investigated, says Amnesty International

WASHINGTON - The decision by the Supreme Court of Spain to dismiss the charges against judge Baltasar Garzón for investigating human rights violations is good news, but much more needs to be done to ensure justice in Spain, said Amnesty International today.

The organization called on the Spanish authorities to promptly open investigations into human rights abuses committed during the country's civil war and under the government of Francisco Franco, including extrajudicial killings, torture and enforced disappearances.

"It is a scandal that Spain has not yet tackled its dark past," said Marek Marczynski, head of international justice at Amnesty International. "News about Judge Garzón is a step forward. However, what we want to see next is a full investigation into the catalogue of abuses that took place during the civil war and Franco's regime. There must not be impunity for these most horrible crimes in Spain."

Amnesty International has not been able yet to assess the full text of the ruling. However, based on the information available so far, the organization is concerned that the interpretation of the principle of legality in the ruling may prevent victims of human rights abuses committed in the past from accessing justice.

Amnesty International calls on the Spanish authorities to fulfill its international obligations and investigate past crimes under international law -- and in particular, to set aside the 1977 Amnesty Law and statute of limitations.

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