Spain adopts new law from today punishing glorification of the Franco period

by Lorraine Williamson
Franco law

The Democratic Memory Act will come into force on 21 October. The coup d’état, the civil war and the Franco dictatorship are thus openly rejected and glorification is punished. These are the 8 points that will change in Spain thanks to this law. 

A preliminary draft of this law was presented in July 2021, which already announced that veneration of Francisco Franco would be punished. In early October 2022, the Senate finally approved the current bill. The Law on Democratic Memory (Ley de Memoria Democrática) takes effect from today. This was after it was presented in Spain’s official state bulletin on Thursday. 

Spain can punish the glorification of dictatorship thanks to this law 

With the Law of Democratic Memory, Spain is responding to international recommendations to adapt the regulations in this regard to the European standard. That is, “the coup of 1936 and the ensuing Civil War and dictatorship is openly rejected and glorification is punished.” 

The new law was rejected by Vox, Partido Popular and Ciudadanos but passed thanks to a majority of the government. The Spanish government says: “Spain finally has a law that puts victims first. A law described as “humane” and based on the international humanitarian law grounds of “truth, justice, reparation and prevention of recurrence.” 

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Also read: Franco shot around 40,000 people in peacetime

New Franco law provides investigation opportunity into human rights violations 

The Democratic Memory Act aims to support the involvement of the Spanish state in the search for persons who disappeared during the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s regime. A law that opens doors to more investigations into human rights violations between 1978 and 1983. 

Democratic Memory Act

These are some of the things that will become possible thanks to the introduction of the Democratic Memory Act: 

  • The search for about 114,000 people who disappeared during the Civil War and Franco’s regime. This will be picked up by the central government. And will be with the help of a map of where these people went missing. A DNA bank to match genetic profiles with human remains will also be created.
  • (The glorification of) Franco’s regime will be condemned and punished. The convictions handed down by Franco’s courts at the time will be annulled. 
  • Initiating an investigation into human rights violations during the coup d’état period, the civil war and the Franco dictatorship. Consideration is being given to setting up a special Public Prosecution Service that focuses on the search for victims and will investigate events to identify and track down victims. 
  • The law considers persons killed from the coup d’état in 1936 until the entry into force of the Constitution in 1978 as victims if they have suffered physical, moral or psychological damage to themselves or their property or if the fundamental rights of these persons have been violated. . 
  • The Valle de los Caídos becomes Valle de los Cuelgamuros and only the remains of people who died as a result of the war are allowed to lie here. 
  • The law guarantees free and free access to public and public archives about this period. 
  • Teaching methods will be updated on this subject to make the oppression during the war and the dictatorship more apparent. 
  • Titles of nobility granted during the war and the dictatorship will disappear. Some examples of these are the Duke of Primo de Rivera, the Duke of Calvo Sotelo and the Duke of Mola. 

Also read: Spain takes steps to prosecute Franco era crimes

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