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Investigating the Crimes of the Franco Regime: Legal Possibilities, Obligations of the Spanish State and Duties Towards the Victims

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The opening on 16th October 2008 by the Examining Judge of the High Court Baltasar Garzón of the first cause to investigate crimes committed during the Spanish Civil War and Franco's regime has initiated a vigorous debate about not only the convenience, but also the legal possibilities to carry out this research and can meet the demands of the families of the victims, who are dissatisfied with the Law of Historical Memory. This article attempts to analyze the main problems posed by the possibility that these crimes are investigated: the problem of non-retroactivity of criminal law and the classification of the facts committed as crimes against humanity; the question of the permanence of the crime of illegal detention and, in relation to this, the question of the statute of limitations; the existence of an amnesty law; the international obligations of the Spanish State and the duties towards the victims.

Affiliations: 1: International Criminal Law, University of A Coruña, Spain


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