Professor Faraz Sanei and Fernando Travesí, the Executive Director of the International Center for Transitional Justice
On November 5, 2018, the Cardozo Law Institute in Holocaust and Human Rights and the Cardozo Law Indie Film Clinic hosted a special pre-release screening of the acclaimed documentary The Silence of Others. The film, directed by Emmy-winning filmmakers Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar, is shot over six years and follows the fight for both recognition and justice for serious crimes committed during General Francisco Franco’s almost four decades of rule in Spain. The Spanish Amnesty Law of 1977, passed after Franco’s death, released political prisoners while simultaneously guaranteeing impunity for those who committed crimes, including crimes against humanity, during the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s rule. Today, the law serves as an impediment to prosecutions of those alleged to have committed serious crimes on behalf of Franco’s government in Spanish courts. The film focuses on the struggles the victims face in bringing attention to the crimes committed against them, as well as their efforts to bring those responsible to justice. Relying on the legal strategy of universal jurisdiction, the victims filed a petition in Argentina to try cases of crimes against humanity. To this day, Spain continues to block Judge María Servini’s efforts to extradite and question several of the alleged perpetrators.
Following the screening, Visiting Professor of Law Faraz Sanei discussed the film with Fernando Travesí, the Executive Director of the International Center for Transitional Justice. Travesí, who grew up in Spain, noted that this film is being released at a time when “there is a new momentum to come to terms with history” in Spain. He noted that the road to transitional justice is often a long, painful, and unsatisfying journey. While criminal accountability is an important part of transitional justice, other efforts focusing on truth and reconciliation, reparations, and reform can be equally important in ensuring full restorative justice.