I've never understood the theory that amnesty helps the transition away from authoritarian impunity. Sure, as an application of the essential principle that some people are too important for accountability, it has influential friends; but it's the most dreadful sort of whitewash.
Do you know what happens when there isn't an amnesty law smoothing the transition to democracy?
Look at Lybia and Syria.
Spanish roads are littered with cadavers.
Victims of Francos´ repression cannot get any relief. Each time someone ask to dig the mass graves of the Civil War the ruling party (Popular Party, or PP as is also know) becomes enrage and say that the leftist are seeking vengeance and revenge, and that those matters should be let to "rest" not to disturb the peace and memory of those fallen during the confrontation. YET, the same ruling party celebrate the victories and heroes of the fascists force, even with national-socialistic paraphernalia! Young members of the Popular Party all around Spain are posing in photographs with fascist and nazi symbols and posting them on social media.
Spain is corrupt and putrid to it´s core. There was not a true transition from dictatorship to democracy, our king was set by the dictator himself and talking about a plebiscite to ask the nation if they want a monarchy is taboo.
You're talking about people with a capacity for committing heinous crimes established a priori. If it's in their best interests to fight to the bitter end, they do.
It is pragmatic to offer conditional amnesty to sufficiently low-ranked peons who are willing to flip on their bosses... You can't fight to the bitter end without an army of some sort. It's the "Hooray! Amnesty for absolutely everybody at all levels!" stuff I find baffling.
You aren't going to get the small fry to assist in their own prosecution, nor is it terribly high priority; but a few more high-ranking types getting hung from lampposts and dragged through the streets? Sounds like progress.
When the price for getting that done is a repeat of a civil war, people who remember the last time around are less inclined to demand it.
Wasn't like that here in Argentina. After the (obviously U.S. supported) dictatorship was over, and democracy returned, they put the military leaders of the Junta on trial. Yes, it's true that the military made noise about possibly trying to launch another coup if the court trials didn't stop, and eventually the democratic government negotiated a final deadline, when supposedly nobody else would be tried for crimes against humanity. And then Spain tried and convicted a guy who had escaped Argentina's justice system because so many Spanish citizens died during the dictatorship. You have to understand how closely linked the two countries are in terms of huge swaths of the population only a couple generations apart.
After that, Argentina passed new laws that revoked the final deadline, and the last decade has seen a lot of ex-dictators (known as 'represores') get court trials and go to jail. And it's been damn good for the people who didn't support t he right-wingers. And there has not been any dragging through streets or public hangings and civil war hasn't broken out again and it makes sense that the huge population of Spanish descendants, many of whom lost family to Franco's regime, would look to this court system to try criminals who aren't being tried over there. It was good when Videla (Argentina) died in prison. Even though everyone knew he was more comfortable in there than the average street thug. Even though he was defiant to the last, flaunting his Vatican connections during his trial. It made people feel better that he went to jail, and died there. No public hanging, no civil war. A rule-of-law society which deals with murderers in a civilized manner.
Unrelated: It drives me up the wall how every time a US newspaper reports on a Spanish-speakng country, the reporter sounds like they got their information about the mood on the streets from some preppy 20 year old business administration student, probably the son of their ex host family (from that summer abroad back yonder . . . sigh).
It's rather common for richer people to both speak English and be more from the political right, but reporters should have more sources than the few Anglophilic wanna-be's who always hate populist politics. Imagine reading in a major Chilean newspaper that 'Americans are trying to resist the authoritarian regime's imposed heath care mandates, though no one knows how long the people can hold out.' - that is about how our news is always reported in the US, in about the same proportions of conservative minority being reported as though they were the country.
This NYT reporter just stated that the possible trial was ruffling feathers and felt like an unwelcome intrusion to the Spanish, though every single quoted source was in favor of extradition. And they don't even blink. Gah!
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