Argentinean Franco crimes judge: “You see people’s fear of testifying”. EL PAÍS

Argentinean Franco crimes judge: “You see people’s fear of testifying”

María Servini is in Spain to gather testimonies of offenses committed under the dictatorship

“If I didn’t believe in universal justice, I wouldn’t be here,” she says

Judge María Servini walks out of a Seville courthouse after taking statements from Paco Marín (right). / PACO PUENTES 

The Argentinean judge in charge of the world’s only investigation into crimes committed under the Franco dictatorship on Friday continued her tour of Spain to take testimony from elderly witnesses who were unable to make the long trip to Buenos Aires, or visit their nearest Argentinean consulate for a video conference.

Judge María Servini de Cubría is using the concept of universal jurisdiction to justify her inquiry into crimes that do not directly involve Argentineans. Relatives of Franco’s victims turned to her court after an attempt to investigate offenses committed by the Franco regime by Spanish High Court Judge Baltasar Garzón landed the magistrate in the dock himself, accused of overstepping his powers.

While Garzón was ultimately acquitted of those charges, he was simultaneously hit with two other trials, one of which got him thrown off the bench for 11 years. Many observers see a political motivation behind these events in a country where the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) continues to bea sensitive subject.

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