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The Spanish 1977 Amnesty Law is a law promulgated in 1977, two years after dictator Francisco Franco's death, that shields any Franco era crime from being put under trial. The law is still in force, and has been used as a reason for not investigating and prosecuting Francoist human rights violations.
In February 2012 the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights demanded the 1977 Amnesty Law to be repealed on the basis that it violates international human rights law. The Commissioner referred to Spain's obligation to comply with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Under international human rights law, there is no statute of limitations for crimes against humanity. Spain has argued that perpetrators of crimes against humanity cannot be prosecuted for crimes committed before 1939, but the UN takes the view that Francoist crimes should be investigated. In 2008, Judge Baltasar Garzón briefly began an official inquiry, symbolically indicting Gen. Francisco Franco, for the disappearance of more than 100,000 people. In 2009, Manos Limpias, an extremist right syndicate, brought criminal charges against the judge for defying the amnesty law. Manos Limpias is a "far-right group," according to the New York Times.