Spain Drops Probe Into Franco Crimes

But plan to dig up mass graves may still go ahead
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2008 8:48 AM CST
A worker behind a human skull in a mass grave in San Rafael cemetery in Malaga, Spain, Sunday, Sept. 21, 2008. Malaga became one of many execution grounds for perceived opponents of Francisco Franco.   (AP Photo/Sergio Torres)
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(Newser) – One of Spain's leading judges terminated an inquiry into atrocities committed during the 1936-1939 civil war and the ensuing dictatorship, ending the country's first criminal investigation into Francisco Franco's regime. The judge dropped the case after government prosecutors questioned his jurisdiction over what the suit called crimes against humanity. But the planned exhumation of hundreds of victims in mass graves may still take place, reports the New York Times.

Public attention to the Franco lawsuit has put pressure on Spain's government to reckon with the country's dark decades. While conservative groups welcomed the end to the trial, advocates for victims of the regime called the termination a disgrace. "We have teams of Spanish peacekeepers exhuming mass graves in Bosnia and yet we can’t even deal with our own graves," said one.