On Sunday 26th April 2015 Euskal Herria Bildu presented The Basque way for Peace, EH Bildu’s own proposal regarding the resolution of the consequences of the conflict. The proposal includes four specific road-maps with EH Bildu’s proposals regarding four of the outstanding consequences of the conflict (Victims and Memory, Penal and Penitentiary Policy and Return Of On The Run’s, Disarmament and Demilitarisation)
You can read the proposal below, or download it here.
EH Bildu – The Basque Way for Peace
Three and a half years have passed since the International Peace Conference of Aiete and we consider it necessary to pause ourselves for a moment and look back. In the current political scenario there are very important questions that continue pending for a resolution, but, on the other hand, in comparison with the previous scenario one can appreciate notorious differences.
In these years Basque society has begun a hopeful journey towards the resolution of the political conflict and we have known important steps in this direction. Without a doubt, the most important step has come from the hands of the ETA organization, who just three days after the Conference of Aiete communicated their decision to definitively abandon armed activity, responding in this manner to the demand covered in the first point of the declaration made public by the international delegation.
Unfortunately, the other points of the Aiete roadmap haven’t had any practical materialization. The governments of Spain and France maintain an evident attitude of blockage and obstructionism facing the creation of new and constructive conditions for an integral solution. In that relative to the consequences of the Basque political conflict their attitude has been especially cruel and obstinate, promoting and intensifying policies that carry grave violations of human rights.
Since our adhesion to the new political time and from our commitment to peace and the resolution of the conflict, those of us who make up EH Bildu think that the moment has come to clarify and contrast our postures, so in that way to be able to reach the consensus that our people dearly needs. To make this exercise it is up to all of us who think that the political blockage from the Spanish and French states it is necessary to seek agreements in the Basque Country. And in this determination we must have present that wide sectors of the Spanish and French citizenry as well as numerous international actors manifest their firm support to reaching peace in the Basque Country.
For this motive, it is indispensable that each one specifies their position. On our part, in the present document we outline the ways that can be taken in relation with the consequences of the political conflict, as EH Bildu’s own position and always offering our vision open to facing possible shared agreements.
In relation with the consequences of the political conflict we think that there are four spheres to deal with: victims and memory, penal and penitentiary policy and the return of those on the run, disarming and demilitarization. Each one of these questions needs its own and specific treatment; however, given that the four are directly related to each other, we thing that they must be treated in their totality, as a single roadmap. We’ll cover these four itineraries.
VICTIMS AND MEMORY
To award the victims the consideration which they deserve and to establish the memory of all that has happened in the past, it is indispensable to know the truth about what happened. The objective is that all victims receive recognition, reparation and a guarantee of no repetition, independently of who has caused their suffering.
- From our perspective the starting point is clear: all victims have the same rights of recognition, reparation and a guarantee of no repetition. As an instrument for that, and with the objective of recovering the complete memory of all that has happened, a database will be elaborated that includes all the violations of human rights.
- Based on the right of the victims and society to know the truth a “Truth Commission” will be created sharing the different sufferings that have taken place and with the objective of closing mutual wounds. To know all the truths that make up the truth seems fundamental to us so that what happened doesn’t repeat itself in the future.
- About the database of all the violations of rights, mechanisms will be established for the reparation of the victims and for the recognition of all of the rights that belong to them.
- We are in favour of promoting a collective, plural and integrative memory. For that, in the political parties as well as in the spheres of the government to promote practical reflections about the decisions adopted in the past with respect to the use of violence and facing the victims. In this way, it will facilitate making critical exercises headed towards recognizing all of the damage caused.
- As a general criteria, a transversal plan will be elaborated for the safeguarding of human rights, with the help of the institutions and other agents. Among other questions, said plan will promote the withdrawal of legislations of exception that give aid to the violations of human rights.
Penal and Penitentiary Policy and Return Of On The Run’s
In the context of a conflict of a political character, a significant number of Basque citizens remain in prison or on the run. The normalized coexistence that we want for our people requires reaching a situation in which no Basque citizen is deprived of their freedom or that they have been with the obligation of setting up residence outside of the country for political convictions.
- In a new time that has as its objective peace and coexistence, we consider that it is necessary to adequate the legislation to the new political reality, as well as implanting new models based on a character of transitional justice which helps society to consolidate coexistence.
- In this sense, and as a general criteria, it is necessary to restore the exceptional penal, penitentiary and trial policies to their ordinary state.
- In that related to Basque prisoners, it is necessary to eliminate as soon as possible all the exceptional measures that violate their rights.
- Specifically, it is necessary to end the regime of isolation, to release those who suffer serious illnesses, and to parole those who have completed 2/3rds of their sentences. At the same time, an end has to be put to life imprisonment or the lengthening of the sentence: in the case of the French state the so-called “perpeptuité”; in the case of the Spanish state, the 40 years in prison and not counting the time spent in a prison outside of the Spanish state.
- Together with that, it is necessary to end with sending prisoners away and dispersion, since they suppose a flagrant violation of the rights of the families of the prisoners. The whole of the prisoners must be sent as soon as possible to the prisons of Iruñea and Zaballa.
- In the same way, so that the prisoners can be subject to an adequate penitentiary policy based on transitional justice, the competencies in penitentiary matters must be transferred to the Basque Autonomous Community and the Foral Community of Navarre.
- The search for agreements will be promoted to favour the process of reintegration of the Basque prisoners through agreements among political parties and in the institution with the participation of the prisoners. The process of reintegration of the Basque prisoners will be done through legal means and with an individualized application, for which it will be necessary to put in march a plan of “anticipated conditional release”. This programme will require on the part of the Basque prisoners their commitment to the new scenario open in the Basque Country and to renounce violent ways and also, there must be on their part a recognition of the damage caused as a consequence of their actions.
- Regarding those on the run the process of their return will be facilitated. For that, on the one hand, there will proceed to a process of regularization of those who have no causes pending with justice; on the other hand, and with the end of regularization of those who do have causes pending, they will advocate for the elaboration of a specific legislation that regulates the matter.
- As a general criteria, the laws and the mechanisms of the administration of justice will be adapted to the new political time and they will be advocate for the end of political trials.
We plant as an objective to reach a scenario of disarmament through the destruction of the arsenals of ETA. In our opinion, this is the sequence of events which must take place:
- In the first place, ending at the soonest possible time the sealing and verification of the arsenals of ETA.
- At the same help must be sought by experts who have participated in similar dynamics at the global level, with the idea of creating an Independent Commission for Disarmament, together with the participation of other international facilitating organizations.
- In this task it is of the utmost importance to give said initiative the maximum coverage and political, institutional and social legitimacy. For that, we consider it fundamental the constructive participation, in their corresponding levels, of the governments of the BAC and the FCN and of the political parties and social agents of all the Basque Country.
- The Independent Commission for Disarmament will design and carry out to the end in a prudential time a controlled, orderly and consented process which ends with the destruction of the arsenals of ETA.
Being the final objective that the variable of weapons disappear definitively from the equation of the Basque political conflict, we consider it necessary the withdrawal of the State Security Forces and the assumption on the part of the Basque Police Forces in the tasks of protections and service of the citizens.
- For that it will be necessary to elaborate and seek consensus on a plan for the scaled withdrawal of the State Security Forces.
The plan and the criteria of scaled withdrawal of the State Security Forces will be approved in the Parliaments of Gasteiz and Iruñea and later they will be agreed upon with the Spanish government.
- As a starting point, the number and functions of the State Security Forces must be adequate to the current legislation, limiting themselves to the competencies in the extra and supra community sphere. In consequence, the Ertzaintza and Foral Police will assume in a gradual manner the tasks of protection and service to the community.
- In the Forces of the Basque Police who assume these tasks, they will create independent mechanisms for safeguarding human rights, with the objective of overcoming the bad practices of the past and putting them at the service of all of society.
- Among other questions, this will bring with it the end of police operations of a political character that they have been deliberately been promoting. The police services will protect the right to political activity, since it deals with a basic right of the citizens.
This proposal is born from the same vision that brought us to launch the “Basque Way” initiative, from the conviction of that the Basque society in their whole, through dialogue and agreement among their political and social representatives, have in their hands the exercise of the right to decide as well as to take steps that consolidate the peace process, promoting from the general interest the decisive treatment of the consequences of the political conflict.
This document, therefore, sets the political position of EH Bildu in this respect. We consider that its contents represent a realistic, just and at the same time an enormously pragmatic way for the immense majority of Basque society. We have opted to act with good proposals and to present a proposal that is viable and adjusted to the reality of the country, desiring the rest of the political and social actors, if they still haven’t done so, to also opt to act in a constructive way.