The Contentious Administrative Court number 10 of Madrid has annulled the building license granted by the City Council of San Lorenzo de El Escorial to access the crypts of Cuelgamuros (formerly the Valley of the Fallen) with the aim of exhuming the mortal remains of victims of Francoism and the Civil War claimed by their families, as has been able to confirm. The State Attorney’s Office will appeal this ruling before the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid: “The Government reaffirms its commitment to the location and recovery of the remains of the victims, as their families wish,” explain sources from the Ministry of the Presidency.

This is stated in a ruling, to which Europa Press has had access, in which the appeal filed by the Francisco Franco Foundation and the Association for Reconciliation and Historical Truth, among other appellants, against the Agreement of the Board of Local Government, of June 24, 2021, of the San Lorenzo de El Escorial City Council, which would be annulled. Sources close to the plaintiffs assure that on Monday they will request the stoppage of the works, which had already begun. The forensic experts entered the crypts on June 13 and, in fact, the remains of several reprisal victims buried in the Francoist mausoleum have already been identified and delivered to their families.

The appeal challenged the resolution of the City Council of the aforementioned town by which a building permit was authorized for the accesses to the crypts of the basilica. The appellants maintained that the works do not have “the status of maintenance or rehabilitation works, but rather they are consolidation, demolition and new construction works.”

The ruling represents a new obstacle in the string of obstacles that the process has faced in the form of a judicial conflict. In September 2021, the Ministry of the Presidency took the first steps with the preliminary work, which consisted of installing the infrastructure and organizing the workers, but two months later this same court paralyzed them after a cascade of appeals filed by this same association. The process lasted until last March, when the Supreme Court decided to confirm the annulment of the precautionary measures that kept the work paralyzed.

Now, however, the judge decides to declare the Agreement of the Local Government Board of the San Lorenzo de El Escorial City Council null and void, considering that it exceeds what could be authorized with a construction license.

The magistrate understands that the absence of motivation for the contested act determines, in principle, its nullity and whenever defenselessness is caused, a defenselessness that is considered to occur “in this case because this absence of reasoning prevents the citizen, and more so in a area where public action is recognized, the possibility of knowing the reasons why a decision of the Administration is not arbitrary but in accordance with the Law.”

“The relevant omissions from the technical report and the municipal agreement entail the exclusion from the assessment of factual data relevant to the decision adopted by the City Council, leaving the choice made without justification,” says the magistrate.

He then emphasizes that “the urban planning regulations of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, taking into account the nature of the works, require either a special plan or an urban planning license, a relevant difference taking into account the different nature between a planning instrument and a mere regulated authorization.” .


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