13 Macquarie L.J. 25 (2014)
Law, Memory and Amnesty in Spain

handle is hein.journals/macq13 and id is 33 raw text is: 










LAW, MEMORY AND AMNESTY IN SPAIN


                                   MICHAEL HUMPHREY*


      There are now memory laws in many European states against the denial of the
      Holocaust and the Armenian genocide as well as laws to regulate history curricula
      about slavery and colonialism. Laws explicitly addressing the memory of victims
      have also become a major focus of transitional justice mechanisms to manage
      political transition by recognising victims of human rights abuse in order to promote
      accountability and reconciliation. This article explores the role of law in regulating
      Civil War memory in Spain by looking at three laws   the Amnesty Law 1939, the
      Amnesty Law 1977 and the Law of Historical Memory 2007. It argues that these laws
      reconstituted the political community based on an official collective memory, the
      selective recognition of victims and a political consensus. It argues that, while the
      Law of Historical Memory 2007 may have created new rights for families of the
      disappeared through global claim making, these rights have not been easy to realise.
      The surviving political influence of Francoists and public avoidance of Civil War
      memory as politically divisive, a legacy of the forgetting instituted by the Amnesty
      Law 19 77, has continued to present significant obstacles to the realisation of rights
      created by the Law of Historical Memory 2007.


                                   1      INTRODUCTION

This article is about law, the regulation of memory and justice. Its focus is the role of law in
shaping collective memory of past violence. Political conflict over memory highlights the fact
that (living) memory remains under the surface of law and sometimes becomes the object of
laws.1 In Europe, the legislation of memory laws has recently been growing to defend the
memory of historical victims of violence. There are now memory laws in many European states
against the denial of the Holocaust and the Armenian genocide as well as laws to regulate history
curricula about slavery and colonialism.2 Laws explicitly addressing the memory of victims have
also become a major focus of transitional justice mechanisms to manage political transition by
recognising victims of human rights abuse in order to promote accountability and reconciliation.
This article examines law and the regulation of Civil War memory in Spain and the political



*    BA Hons, PhD (Macq); Professor Michael Humphrey holds a Chair in Sociology in the Department of
      Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Sydney.
1     Vivian Grosswald Curran, 'History, Memory and Law' (2011) 16 Roger Williams University Law Review
      100.
2     Ibid 100-2.

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