By Humphrey Carter

THE upcoming trial of the so-called Spanish “super judge” judge Baltasar Garzón for investigating abuses from Spain's past threatens the concept of accountability in Spain and beyond, Human Rights Watch said yesterday. “What bitter irony that Garzón is being prosecuted for trying to apply at home the same principles he so successfully promoted internationally,” said Reed Brody, counsel for Human Rights Watch.

“Thirty-six years after Franco's death, Spain is finally prosecuting someone in connection with the crimes of his dictatorship – the judge who sought to investigate those crimes.”

While filmmakers, writers and authors across Northern Europe and the rest of the World have addressed their past, for good or for bad, here in Spain, the Franco era and, to a lesser extent the Civil War, is still something of a taboo subject. Over the past decade, a handful of brave Spanish filmmakers and writers have begun to tackle the issue and some of the films have gone on to win top awards in Britain and the United States - but here in Spain, they are not warmly received. Even the Spanish admit that the world leading experts on the Spanish Civil War and modern Spanish history are British - Anthony Beaver and Paul Preston to name just two - not to mention George Orwell who wrote of his experiences of fighting for the Republicans in the Civil War. Spain cannot hide from its past forever, a lot can be learned from history.


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