Spanish judge Baltazar Garzon has told a Madrid court that no amnesty can cover crimes against humanity.
He is accused of deliberately ignoring a 1977 amnesty law by investigating suspected murders during Spain’s civil war and the subsequent Franco dictatorship.
Garzon said in his opening testimony: “This is a permanent crime. A crime whose effects continue in time and that, according to the doctrine of the Supreme Court of Spain, and the doctrine of European courts and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, it (the crime) continues to take place until those effects come to an end.”
At least 100,000 people died or disappeared during the Franco era.
The case against Garzon has been brought by two right-wing organisations, but he enjoys support from unions, rights groups and left-wing politicians.
If convicted, he could be banned from working as a magistrate for 20 years.
Garzon is most widely known as the man who indicted the late Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998.