Spain’s crusading human rights judge Baltasar Garzon has gone on trial over his divisive attempt to investigate disappearances during Franco’s regime.
His critics claim he abused his powers with his bid to find out the fate of around 114,000 people during Spain’s civil war.
Garzon argues the acts were crimes against humanity and therefore not subject to the amnesty agreed by the main political parties.
A view shared by dozens of human rights groups – hundreds of Garzon supporters have taken to streets of Madrid in protest.
The case serves as a reminder of how raw the subject of the Franco regime remains, even more than 35 years after the dictator’s death. Several witnesses will testify for the families of the victims, many of them buried in unmarked mass graves across Spain.