- Legal system, repression and human rights in contemporary Spain : some remarks about spanish transition to democracy (2012)
- As is well known, the 2nd Spanish Republic (1931-1936) was toppled by a military uprising which, after a cruel Civil War, set up an autocratic regime led by General Franco which lasted until his natural death in 1975. According to the contemporary theory of the legal system, a legal order exists on the sole condition that it is efficient in general terms and this was the case for both the Republic and the Dictatorship. In turn, the validity of the legal norms of all legal orders is based on its respective rules of recognition. Thus, neither the existence of the legal order nor the validity of its respective legal norms depends on moral considerations. In this paper, we call this affirmation into question on the base of the fact that the compensatory methods adopted from the Transition to Democracy show an evident concern to repair the damage of taking away a person’s basic rights (life, health, freedom, expression, association etc) although the Spanish Constitution, with its catalogue of fundamental rights was not in force at that time. But these measures would not have much sense if, as Raz says, there was no shared content which is common to all legal systems. Like Nino, we claim that one must discriminate between a democratic legal order and an autocratic one to establish the level of validity of its respective legal norms. Thus it can be assigned a presumption of justice to democratic norms. Finally, we state that the criteria to weigh up the justice or injustice of legal norms, as that of legal orders, takes root in the level of respect they show towards human rights.