The highest criminal court Argentinathe Federal Chamber of Criminal Cassation, has convened this Thursday September 15 to the lawsuit that promotes the cause of the Franco regime to define the procedural situation of the former minister Rodolfo Martin Villa.
Accused of crimes against humanity during the TransitionMartín Villa was prosecuted in October 2021 by the judge Mary Servini, responsible since 2010 for the only judicial process in the world that investigates the crimes of the Franco dictatorship. But a court of second instance, the National Criminal and Correctional Appeals Chamber, reversed in December the ruling of the head of the National Criminal and Correctional Court No. 1.
Lawyers for the lawsuit appealed in February. So now, seven months later, Cassation will listen to the lawyers who appealed the sentence. “We will reinforce the foundations so that the decision of the Court of Appeals that had annulled the prosecution of Martín Villa is revoked”explained to Public the lawyer Julieta Bandirali, a member of the legal team that joined the case in 2018.
Due to the principle of defense in court that Martín Villa attends, the court will also attend to the reasons presented by his lawyer, Fernando Goldaracena, who asked to be summoned at the hearing. The question remains as to whether the defendant will also appear. All presentations will be made by videoconference.
For the complaint, “the tragic events for which Villa was prosecuted They are not isolated situations, but they were part of a modus operandi that remained intact long after the dictator’s death, and whose pattern of behavior was repeated in all of them”.
That is why the former minister became the first and only prosecuted for the imprescriptible crimes of Francoism. Four homicides are attributed to him during his time as Minister of Trade Union Relations and the Interiorpositions he held between 1975 and 1979. These are the murders of Pedro María Martínez Ocio, Romualdo Barroso Chaparro and Francisco Aznar Clemente, three of the five victims who died in the massacre of victoria of March 3, 1976, and that of a young man, Germán Rodríguez Saiz, who was shot by the police in Pamplona during the Sanfermines of 1978.
The representatives of the complaint have requested that the brother of this last victim, Fermín Rodríguez Saiz, and the president of the March 3 Association, Andoni Txasko, also be able to participate in the hearing.
“Judge Servini has been extremely detailed and meticulous at the time of founding the prosecution of Martín Villa,” Bandirali pointed out. “We hope that the Chamber of Cassation can appreciate it.”
His partner Eduardo Fachal, who will intervene before Cassation together with another lawyer in the lawsuit, Luis Calcagno, questioned the ruling of the Court of Appeals that revoked Villa’s prosecution. “It was an arbitrary action that turned back what was already discussed and proven in the file, which are crimes against humanity,” he told this newspaper.
In his opinion, the court of second instance assessed the evidence very badly, when the one there was was enough to prosecute the former minister. “Dr. Servini wrote more than 900 pages in her sentence, where she detailed the abundant evidence that justified her prosecution, while the decision of the Court of Appeals did not reach ten pages,” she reproached.
Martín Villa himself, who was questioned by the magistrate on September 3, 2020, acknowledged before Servini that “abuses” were committed during his time as minister. He also admitted the homicides for which he was charged at that time, but denied that they were crimes against humanity, under the justification that they had occurred during the Transition. “That discussion has already been settled by the Argentine Justice, which is why it opened the case based on the principle of universal jurisdiction,” objected Fachal.
“Excesses” of the dictatorship
During his investigation, Villa also considered that Spain went to bed monarchical and rose republican, but that a very long transition was required from republic to monarchy. “He also spoke of excesses, the same concept used here, in Argentina, by the dictator Jorge VidelaFachal revealed.
The Argentine lawyer, a specialist in human rights, has a good feeling about the decision that Casación will make. “This demonstrated that there was a continuity of the Civil Guard and the forces of repression from 1975 to at least 1981, when some reforms began,” he said. “That is why we will emphasize, as we have already done in a letter, the amount of evidence that exists, including the acknowledgments that Villa has made during his investigation.” .
In June 2018, Cassation reversed a Servini resolution that had excluded from the investigation the cases of José Salmerón Céspedes, police chief of the city of Tetuán who was tortured and shot in 1936, when Morocco was a Spanish protectorate, and Gustavo Muñoz , a 16-year-old Communist Party militant who was assassinated in Barcelona in 1978.
By virtue of this sentence, the court urged the judge to extend the investigation period of the file, based on an opinion of the intervening prosecutor, Ramiro González, who observed that any fact that could be proven within a systematic plan of extermination should enter the object of investigation.
In the worst case, the The highest criminal court in the country will decree the lack of merit of Martín Villa, which would empower the plaintiff attorneys to present new evidence before Judge Servini. Because there are.
“The judge is investigating other facts and we have now provided new evidence by requesting that proceedings be opened in this regard, since the magistrate did not prosecute Martín Villa for the wounded, detained and tortured that occurred in the Vitoria massacre“, revealed the plaintiff lawyer.
Almost eight years have passed since Servini ordered the arrest of 20 representatives of the Franco regime for extradition purposes to take an investigative statement. 14 are left alive. During all this time, Spain has hindered the investigationby not even authorizing the interrogations required by the magistrate.
Now open a new loophole to advance the causebut always from Argentina.