6 Interdisc. J. Hum. Rts. L. 41 (2011-2012)
Impunity for Enforced Disappearances in Contemporary Spain: The Spanish Search for Truth

handle is hein.journals/ijhrl6 and id is 43 raw text is: IMPUNITY FOR ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES IN
CONTEMPORARY SPAIN
The Spanish Search for Truth
Ursula Urdillo*
More than 35 years after Franco's death, Spain has yet to live up
to its international obligations to provide redress for victims of
atrocities committed during the Spanish Civil War and Franco's
dictatorial regime. Although there are no official figures,
investigations by victims' associations estimate 114,266 people
are still disappeared as a consequence of these atrocities. Recent
demands by victims for truth, justice, and reparation have
opened up a new era of transition in Spain, which includes
government initiatives for the redress of victims and the recovery
of collective memory through the Historical Memory Law of
2007. Yet these initiatives are insufficient for victims to realize
the rights they are guaranteed under international law, in
particular those recognized in the International Convention for
the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
Disturbingly, the only judge who established a basis on which to
investigate the disappearances perpetrated during the Civil War
and the dictatorship has been recently suspended in connection
with his pronouncement on this court case. These developments
serve to undermine attempts at reconciliation and victims'justice,
and to highlight the extent to which the Spanish political elite and
the judiciary are still indelibly connected with the past.
Keywords: Enforced disappearance, historical memory, Spanish
Civil War, Francisco Franco, truth seeking, impunity, redress
I. INTRODUCTION
It seems appropriate that the Fuente Grande, sung by the Islamic
poets of Granada, should continue to bubble up its clear waters
close to the last resting place of the greatest poet ever born in this
part of Spain. For it was here, just before reaching the pool, that
the killers shot their victims, leaving their bodies beside an olive
grove on the right-hand side of the road coming from Viznar. A
few moments later the gravedigger arrived. . . . The lad
immediately recognized the bullfighters, noticed not without
surprise that another of the victims had a wooden leg, and
observed that the last one wore a loose tie, you know, the sort
artists wear. He buried them in a narrow trench, on top of each
other, beside an olive tree. When he returned to the Colonia they
told him that the man with the wooden leg was a schoolteacher
from a nearby village, and the other one with the loose tie was the
poet Federico Garcia Lorca.1
*LL.M. Irish Centre for Human Rights (Galway), 2010. The author wishes to express her
appreciation to Dr. Shane Darcy for his advice and support. Earnest gratitude is extended to

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