1No to ETA’s political project
ETA’s terrorism stems from certain political causes – the imposition of nationalist political objectives- and, therefore, leads to certain political and social consequences deriving from such political motive. ETA’s defeat must be managed according to the principles underlying the Rule of Law. Reason of State cannot be invoked to elude the major issues which can govern the design of ETA’s end. The political future of society cannot be written upon ETA’s political project – since it aimed to achieve it through systematic human rights violations- , even if it is without ETA and its violence. Not to condemn ETA’s terrorism is to share ETA’s political project. The condemnation of ETA’s history of terror by every democratic actor is unavoidable in order not to legitimize in time the mass murder of human beings. But, in addition, the State, the Government and political parties can and must avoid political, historical, and moral impunity resulting from the presence of organisms in the democratic institutions which do not condemn the murder of their fellow citizens.
2No to trivialisation
It is relevant for terrorists that victims should appear irrelevant to society. Therefore, we must prevent public authorities, political, social and educational agents from internalising the perspective of criminals, as if the relationship between victims and terrorists were symmetrical, as if murderer and victim were equals. Trivialising, decontextualising and progressively taking in the perspective of the wording in ETA’s world can lead to the relativisation of key democratic principles and to a situation of decline thereof. ETA’s terrorism cannot be framed in an armed conflict between two sides, but in an attack by a terrorist group against the population. ETA’s prisoners are not political prisoners but terrorists who have murdered and persecuted for a totalitarian and ethnicist political motivation. ETA attacked every citizen deliberately, including children, without the victims organizing a violent response. An established culture of peace and trust in the Rule of Law prevented confrontation and conflict.
3No to impunity
As citizens, whether victims or not of terrorism, we have every right to demand that any kind of judicial or historical impunity be strictly avoided. An independent Justice, away from political control, is essential to ensure victims’ legal redress. It is also unavoidable for the Rule of Law to treat ETA’s unresolved crimes as a priority. Even if these have expired, it must work for their resolution so that victims’ and society’s right to truth is not violated. Accusing victims who demand Justice of being vindictive is an indecent way of humiliating them and of discrediting the meaning of their sacrifice in safeguarding freedom for all. Without real and equal justice for all, the Rule of Law ceases to be such a thing. With impunity in place, victims cannot play a role of ethical delegitimisation, nor can the public exercise of memory be coherent, and the reparation of the consequences of terrorism will not come.
4For a penitentiary policy with no shortcuts
Penitentiary policy must not become a policy of pardon. A penitentiary policy based on the early release of tried and sentenced prisoners, disguised in a deceitful use of the law, constitutes a form of impunity. Social reintegration is not the only aim of the sentence, which also includes an orientation reconcilable with other objectives and with the requirement of Justice as established in art. 1 of the Spanish Constitution. Having said that, to sign a request for forgiveness out of one’s own interest and in exchange for a reward, to recognize the personally caused damage or to assume the payment of outstanding compensations that will never be made, is a fraud. Cooperation with the authorities in the investigation of hundreds of unresolved crimes is necessary, as it is stated by law. The requirement of cooperation is the only one that benefits victims and that proves criminals’ true repentance.
5For an end to ETA based on dignity
Citizens must not lose their moral and political compass, either regarding ETA, or the Rule of Law. An end to ETA based on dignity is the debt incurred in by the Rule of Law with millions of citizens who demand transparency in major issues in reference to the quality of the democratic system. The times when the Rule of Law has been enforced without trickery, have also been those when the greatest weakening of terrorist organizations like ETA has been achieved, including its political arm of high level officials, guilty of the major human rights violations having taken place in Spain’s most recent history. An end based on dignity is that which is built on Truth, Memory and Justice.