[JURIST] Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] on Monday began an investigation to assemble a definitive registry of the tens of thousands of victims of the Spanish Civil War [LOC backgrounder] and the regime of Gen. Francisco Franco. Garzon ordered government agencies, the Episcopal Conference [church website], the University of Granada [academic website] and the mayors of four cities to produce the names of people buried in mass graves, as well as the circumstances and dates of their burial. The investigation will help determine whether the National Court [official website] has jurisdiction over the complaints filed by 13 "associations for the recovery of historical memory" seeking clarification of the victims' whereabouts. Such a determination could help the victims' survivors obtain government compensation. AP has more. From Madrid, El Pais has local coverage, in Spanish.
Estimates of the number of people killed during the 1936-39 Civil War and the subsequent Franco dictatorship [BBC backgrounder] range from 90,000 to 180,000. In 2007, the Spanish Parliament passed legislation [text; JURIST report] condemning the Franco government, acknowledging the victims and setting aside money to compensate them. Garzon, widely known for his high-profile investigations of terror and human rights cases, has called for the creation of a "truth commission" [JURIST report] to uncover Franco-era abuses.