The UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances on Friday approved a report by an observer team which expressed its deep concern about the lack of protection for the victims of Franco-era crimes from the Spanish government and the absence of legal mechanisms to help Spaniards find missing loved ones from that period.
On the final day of its meeting in Geneva, the UN committee approved the recommendations by a working group, which traveled to Spain in September to meet with families of Civil War victims and government officials.
Spain must intensify its methods of tracing the disappeared and set up a specialized body to help clarify the fate of those who disappeared or went missing during the 1936-39 Civil War, the UN panel said in its recommendations. “Families have the right to know the truth regarding the fate of their loved ones who have disappeared,” the statement said.
The UN watchdog also called on Spain to cooperate with inquiries taking place in other countries, such as Argentina where Buenos Aires Judge María Servini de Cubría has asked for the extradition of two former officials charged with torture: ex-Civil Guard officer Jesús Muñecas and former police inspector José Antonio “Billy the Kid” González Pacheco.
Spain has not responded to those requests.
According to former High Court Judge Baltasar Garzón, who testified before the panel, at least 150,000 civilians disappeared — and were presumably killed — by General Francisco Franco’s Nationalist forces during the civil war and in the first 12 years of his dictatorship.
The report will be sent to the UN General Assembly next year.