The government resumes work to carry out exhumations in the Cuelgamuros Valley

The government ordered the resumption of exhumations of the remains of 118 civil war victims in the Valley of the Fallen on Monday, although it asked to avoid false expectations about the outcome of the work due to the state of the graves. . As reported by the Ministry of the Presidency, Relations with the Courts and Democratic Memory, the resumption of the exhumations comes after the stoppage caused by the precautionary measures imposed by Court No. 10 of Madrid before the various appeals presented .

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“Once the precautionary measures were lifted by the TSJM last July and after the City Council of San Lorenzo de El Escorial established that the consistory did not have jurisdiction to suspend the work permit, national heritage, he proceeded to resume work in order to put an end to the suffering that this situation was causing to the relatives of the victims”, they underline from the department headed by Félix Bolaños.

Medico-Legal Board Approval

In addition, they indicated that this exhumation plan “has the approval of the Medico-Legal Council” and has the material means necessary to carry out the work of location and extraction, “as well as human resources and professionals specializing in the field of forensic anthropology”, transfer.

In this way, they assure, “the adequate proportionality between the necessary means and the results that one wants to achieve is guaranteed, without creating false expectations given the complexity of the work, derived from the state of the burials”.

The remains of those buried in the Cuelgamuros Valley – called “de los Caídos” until the recent entry into force of the Democratic Memory Law – are in columbariums of various sizes and in many of them there there are bones of more than one person. In addition, the passage of time and humidity have deteriorated the state of the columbaria, causing, in some cases, the remains of several people to be mixed together, making the work of identification even more difficult.

Identified remains will be returned to families.

Likewise, from the Presidency, they indicated that after the first forensic expertise, the anthropological analyzes and the collection of samples that will then be used for genetic analyzes will be carried out, “always in the premises of the Basilica”, which will be by the National Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Sciences of Madrid, under the supervision of the Ministry of Justice.

Once the remains that have been requested by the relatives of the victims have been identified, the forensic technical reports will be prepared to carry out the delivery of these to the families. It is also expected that the remains that are not returned to their relatives because their identity has not been established will be returned to the corresponding columbarium.

Likewise, from the department of Bolaños, they assure that the process will be guided by technical and medico-legal criteria and that the plan will be developed in accordance with the principles of “legitimacy, legality, respect and confidentiality”. The works will be developed from the National Heritage, and are financed by a fund of 650,000 euros from the Ministry of the Presidency, Relations with the Courts and Democratic Memory.


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