The Basque separatist group ETA publicly announced its dissolution on Thursday, ending a campaign against Spain that killed more than 850 people in more than four decades of bombing and shootings.
In an open letter to the Basque people, ETA said they had "completely dismantled their structures" and would "no longer express political positions, promote initiatives or interact with other actors".
The announcement was dismissed by the victim groups as propaganda, while the Spanish government said this would continue to persecute anyone associated with the violence of the ETA campaign that thwarted Spain's transition to democracy since the late 1
ETA officially announced its dissolution in a selected letter at the headquarters of a conflict resolution group in Geneva. This came one day after the announcement of the group's intentions in a separate, leaked letter sent to the Basque regional government, the unions and others in April
David Harland, the Executive Director of the Humanitarian Dialogue Center that she was participated in peace negotiations between ETA and the Spanish government since 2004, saying that the announcement on Thursday was a "one-sided" movement of the group.
The Basque-language website, naiz.eus, also published audio with the voices of two sources The well-known ETA members, Josu Urrutikoetxea – also known as Josu Ternera – and Marixol Iparragirre, read the contents of the letter.
The Spanish government then pledged to prosecute the militias of the organization that had created a new Basque homeland in the north Spain and southern France
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy stuck to the hard line of his administration and called the dissolving "noise and the propaganda "of the ETA.
"Whatever ETA does or says, there will be no gap for impunity," Rajoy said. "ETA can announce its disappearance, but its crimes or judicial action will not disappear."
The head of the Basque regional government, Inigo Urkullu, said that ETA will "forever stop bothering us"
"We want to underline our determination to work together for a future of normalized coexistence," Urkullu said in Bilbao.
ETA, which stands for "Basque Country and Freedom" in the Basque Country and was born in 1958, led bombings through shootings and kidnappings, most of them after Spain's demise of General Francisco Franco's dictatorship in 1975 after his death had passed.
The group killed 853 people in 42 years between 1968 and 2010, according to a report by the Spanish Ministry of the Interior Ministry. It injured more than 2,600 people, kidnapped 86 and threatened hundreds more.
In the letter, the former militants said they would continue to search for a "reunited, independent, socialist, Basque-speaking and non-patriarchal Basque country". but they will do this outside of ETA.
In 2011, the group announced a permanent ceasefire.
Efforts to create a Basque homeland have tarnished Spain's return to democracy; and members of the country's security apparatus were jailed for launching a "dirty war" against terror in the 1980s, with secret death squads killing ETA fighters – at least 60 separatists were sent by anti-terrorist groups or GAL killed
Civil society groups monitoring ETA's staggered final have scheduled an event in the southern French city of Cambo-les-Bains on Friday to mark the end of the organization. The Spanish, French and regional governments of the Basque Country and Navarre are not sending any representatives to the event.
Associations representing victims, survivors and relatives have called for a full investigation of at least 358 unresolved crimes suspected to be committed by ETA.
Spain's Association of Terror Victims said that the declaration of dissolution was "a pantomime" and "a farce" and that ETA militants tried to present themselves to the international community as "the good guys".
The association said in a statement that ETA has not helped resolve past crimes yet to be investigated, has not offered the victims a full apology, which not only expressed their regret over those trapped in the Basque conflict but also recognized the damage caused thereby.
Other Spanish victims' associations have made similar criticisms of the attitude of the ETA.