Evidence that Spain still has not come to grips with the atrocities of its 1936-39 civil war may be implied from the fact that a Spanish judge is on trial in Madrid not for being an alleged culprit in the crimes but for investigating them.
Baltasar Garzon is being prosecuted for ordering the investigation in 2008 into the disappearance of 114,000 people during Spain’s civil war and General Francisco Franco’s subsequent dictatorship.
Garzon is charged with overreaching his powers by trying to prosecute the atrocities despite an amnesty agreed to in 1977 as Spain moved towards democracy two years after Franco’s death, according to Agence France-Presse.
While he does not face jail time, Garzon could receive a 20-year ban from the legal profession that would effectively end his career, according to the wire service.
Amazingly, Garzon’s trial marks the first time any Spanish court has heard testimony about Franco-era atrocities:
The first witness, Maria Martin, recalled how in 1936 when she was just six her mother was jailed and then shot dead, and her body dumped into a mass grave on the side of a road in the central town of Pedro Bernardo.