The people present before this court are members of ETA and we humbly but honourably defend our militancy. Today, carrying out a mission confided by our Organization, we are going to speak in the name of ETA:

You have brought us here before this court as people politically kidnapped. You have brought us here to judge us and to condemn us, as you have done before with many other Basque citizens.

We fight in favour of the freedom of our country. We assume the responsibility of our choice and of our acts. However, we don’t recognize the legitimacy of this court representing the French state to judge us, a state that denies the rights of the Basque Country and persists in a repressive way.

However, we haven’t come here to defend the war or to add fuel to confrontation. We want to take advantage of this occasion to bring a message in favour of a resolution of the Basque conflict to the heart of the apparatus of the French state.

Last December when Manuel Durao Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy, those responsible from the European Union to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, manifested the value of negotiation as a means for the resolution of conflicts. Also, they recalled the words of Jean Monet who said; “It’s better to fight around a table than on a battlefield.”

The leaders of Spain and France who were present seem to have approved those words, in spite of their current refusal for a negotiation in favour of the resolution of the conflict in the Basque Country.

For many years we have fought on the battlefield. Too long, too much suffering. Let’s then give an opportunity to dialogue. We bring the conflict to the negotiating table.

As Van Rompuy said in Oslo: Let’s finish with the cycle of violence, let’s put aside the logic of political revenge.

ETA acts in this sense and for that has taken historical decisions for the resolution process to be irreversible. ETA announced the end of the armed struggle in October of 2011. Our commitment is real, there is no ruse. What is important is that ETA has followed the desires of the Basque citizens.

Last November, ETA made a precise proposal to resolve the consequences of the conflict. This proposal was solid and constructive, revealing the commitment of ETA. We aspire to have a useful process for a stable and orderly end to the armed confrontation.

They were proposals directed at the Spanish and French governments about various subjects and a calendar for a peace dialogue.

  • The formulas and periods for the return home of all the Basque prisoners and political refugees.
  • The formulas and periods for the disarmament of ETA, of the dismantling of their armed structures and the demobilization of their members.
  • The stages and periods for the demilitarization of the Basque Country, adapting the armed forces to the end of the armed confrontation.

Also, ETA has expressed their disposition to speak of the victims and the people who have suffered damage as a cause of the confrontation.

We reiterate here and now our call to the French government to implicate itself in this resolution. That they contribute their proposals at the negotiating table. That they defend their postures with the same vigour that they have shown in the repression of Basque citizens, if they wish it so, but not to shut the door at this opportunity for peace.

Equally conscious of the difficulties that can be found in this process, ETA thinks that possibilities exist to advance if paths of dialogue are opened. And we promise that we will invest the same courage and determination that we have demonstrated to confront the enemy to fuel the negotiations and to carry this process to the end.

We know that solving the consequences of the conflict does not constitute more than a complementary step of other necessary spaces of discussion.

For this resolution to be lasting, beyond the consequences of the conflict, it will have to surpass the reasons of this political conflict. With actors and citizens of the Basque Country, in a democratic process, to debate them, to search for points of agreement and to conclude agreements.

Also, many wounds caused by this conflict must be closed. They are profound and painful wounds. It is everyone’s responsibility to try to cure them.

A family from Orio has been implicated in the acts that (will be) evoked here. We repeat that we do not recognize the legitimacy of this court to judge us. However, ETA does not deny their responsibility about these acts. We fight against two repressive states and at times, with our popular methods, to confront these states, we have had to adopt decisions that we haven’t liked.

The ETA organization wants to say to these citizens of Orio that we regret the damage that we may have caused them. These words can be extended to all of the citizens who, like them, without any responsibility in the conflict, have suffered damage because of the activity of ETA.

We plant our seed for a just and lasting peace. This is ETA’s commitment.