Amnesties, Pardons and Transitional Justice: Spain's Pact of Forgetting, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Amnesties, Pardons and Transitional Justice

Spain's Pact of Forgetting, 1st Edition

By Roldan Jimeno


248 pages

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Paperback: 9780367232368
pub: 2019-03-21
Hardback: 9781138091603
pub: 2017-09-05
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pub: 2017-09-07
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In a consolidated democracy, amnesties and pardons do not sit well with equality and a separation of powers; however, these measures have proved useful in extreme circumstances, such as transitions from dictatorships to democracies, as has occurred in Greece, Portugal and Spain. Focusing on Spain, this book analyses the country's transition, from the antecedents from 1936 up to the present, within a comparative European context. The amnesties granted in Greece, Portugal and Spain saw the release of political prisoners, but in Spain amnesty was also granted to those responsible for the grave violations of human rights which had been committed for 40 years. The first two decades of the democracy saw copious normative measures that sought to equate the rights of all those who had benefitted from the amnesty and who had suffered or had been damaged by the civil war. But, beyond the material benefits that accompanied it, this amnesty led to a sort of wilful amnesia which forbade questioning the legacy of Francoism. In this respect, Spain offers a useful lesson insofar as support for a blanket amnesty – rather than the use of other solutions within a transitional justice framework, such as purges, mechanisms to bring the dictatorship to trial for crimes against humanity, or truth commissions – can be traced to a relative weakness of democracy, and a society characterised by the fear of a return to political violence. This lesson, moreover, is framed here against the background of the evolution of amnesties throughout the twentieth century, and in the context of international law. Crucially, then, this analysis of what is now a global reference point for comparative studies of amnesties, provides new insights into the complex relationship between democracy and the varying mechanisms of transitional justice.

Table of Contents


1 Background to Francoist Spain: Granting pardons to the defeated in the war and enemies of the regime

2 The beginnings of the transition

3 The 1977 Amnesty Law and subsequent clemency measures

4 Amnesty during the post-transition years (1982–2007)

5 Amnesty after the Historical Memory Law (2007–2016)


About the Author

Roldán Jimeno is a Senior Lecturer in Legal History at the Public University of Navarre, Spain.

About the Series

Transitional Justice

The study of transitional justice has emerged as one of the most diverse and intellectual exciting developments in the social sciences in the last two decades. From its origins in human rights activism and comparative political science the field is increasingly characterised by its geographic and disciplinary breadth. Routledge’s Transitional Justice series publishes innovative work across a range of disciplines working on transitional justice related topics: including law, sociology, criminology, psychology, anthropology, political science, development studies and international relations.

The series includes titles which address larger theoretical questions on transitional justice, including the intersection of notions such as justice, truth, accountability, impunity and the construction of transitional justice knowledge. It also contains critical and theoretically informed empirical work on the workings of institutions such as truth commissions, community based reconciliation, victim empowerment, ex-combatant demobilisation, or regional discussions on practical programmes in particular areas. Finally, the series covers the legal aspects of transitional justice; although, avoiding dry, overly technical or dull legal texts, it specialises in a style of legal scholarship that reflects the energy and vitality of this exciting field.

For further details on the series please contact the Series Editor.

Kieran McEvoy

Professor of Law and Transitional Justice

School of Law

Queens University Belfast


44 (0) 2890973873

[email protected]

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General
LAW / Criminal Law / General
LAW / International
LAW / Jurisprudence
LAW / Legal History
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Human Rights
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Fascism & Totalitarianism
POLITICAL SCIENCE / World / European
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Genocide & War Crimes
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Corruption & Misconduct