Practice Relating to Rule 159. Amnesty
In the Pinochet case in 1998, Spain’s Sala de lo Penal de la Audiencia Nacional, sitting in full bench, held that Chile’s Decree-Law on General Amnesty of 1978 did not preclude the exercise of universal jurisdiction by Spanish courts. It stated:
Regardless of the fact that Decree-Law 2.191 of 1978 can be considered contrary to international ius cogens
, said Decree-Law is not tantamount to a true pardon in accordance with the Spanish rules applicable in this case and can be considered a rule that waives punishment for reasons of political expediency; it therefore does not apply in the case of someone who has been acquitted or pardoned abroad … but rather in the case of conduct … that is not punishable in the country in which the offence was committed … which has no effect on Spain’s extraterritorial jurisdiction in application of the principles of protection and universal persecution.
In 2009, in its written replies to the Committee against Torture concerning its fifth periodic report, Spain stated:
164. … The first article of the  Amnesty Law is reproduced, with the aim of better understanding the objective of the Amnesty Law, which provides that [the following] are amnestied:
a. All acts that have a political aim, regardless of their result, [if they were] considered offences and faults [at the time], and [were] carried out before 15 December 1976;
b. All acts of an identical nature that took place between 15 December 1976 and 15 June 1977, and that had a political aim and the objective was the reestablishment of public liberties and the revindication of the autonomous regions of Spain;
c. All acts of an identical nature and intent to those mentioned in the above paragraph that took place until 6 October 1977, as long as they did not entail grave violence to life and person.
165. Secondly, the formulation of the question seems to indicate that arguments concerning the principle of legality or statutes of limitation of the offence should not be invoked with regard to the offence of torture. In this respect, it should be recalled that in our legal system statutes of limitation do not apply to those acts that constitute crimes against humanity or genocide, [and there is no] possible application of the Amnesty Law.
166. In fact, as paragraph c of the first article of the Amnesty Law states, the amnesty will not be applied if the acts have resulted in “grave violence to life and person”. It will thus correspond to the judicial bodies to consider if the cases subjected before it fall within the framework of the Amnesty Law or not. It should be emphasized that the prosecution of the offences corresponds to the judicial organs and it is these that will determine in which cases the Amnesty Law is applicable.
167. Thirdly, with regard to a possible conflict between the Amnesty Law and the obligations of the Spanish State under article 5 of the  Convention against Torture concerning the establishment of jurisdiction over the crime of torture and the [duty to] prosecute or extradite persons accused of inflicting acts of torture, it should be mentioned that the Convention against Torture … entered into force on 26 June 1987, while the Law of 1977 refers to acts that took place before the adoption of the former law. Having mentioned this, however, the efforts undertaken in the last years by the Spanish State with regard to the victims of the civil war and the dictatorship must be emphasized.
169. Nonetheless, the non-applicability of statutes of limitation in the Amnesty Law for acts of torture that resulted in “grave violence to life and person” applies to acts committed between 15 June 1976 and 15 December 1977; with regard to the [acts] prior to the first of these dates, paragraph a) of article 1 of the above-mentioned law, applies.