Argentina seeks extradition of Spanish Franco-era officials

05 November 2014 by Stephanie van den Berg

A judge in Argentina last week requested that Spain extradite 20 Franco-era officials accused of human rights violations during the Spanish dictatorship who cannot be tried at home because of an amnesty enacted in the late 1970s.

Federal judge María Servini de Cubría is invoking the principle of universal jurisdiction to try human rights violations that occurred abroad. Victims of the Franco regime filed a lawsuit in Argentina in 2010 after attempts to try the suspects in Spain failed because of the amnesty law. 

Spain has not officially responded to the request, but is expected to hold an extradition hearing. This past April, in a similar case, where the same Argentinian judge requested extradition of two suspected torturers during the Franco regime, a Spanish court refused to hand over the suspects, ruling the alleged crimes did not amount to crimes against humanity.

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