Wednesday, July 6

The Council of Europe and the Judicial Associations

The Professional Association of the Judiciary, the Francisco de Vitoria Association and the Independent Judicial Forum have issued a statement in which they ask the Government to use all diplomatic means at its disposal to prevent the Council of Europe from supporting a report that questions the action of the Spanish justice in the process.

The statement was issued this past Friday and the Assembly of the Council of Europe plans to vote on the report drawn up by the Latvian parliamentarian Boris Cilevics this Monday. It does not appear that the Spanish judicial associations have been very diligent in reacting. You don’t have to be a great connoisseur of the Council of Europe to know that in a weekend there is little that can be done. It gives the impression that with this document the judicial associations intend to put on the bandage before the injury, unloading on the Government the responsibility of the approval of the critical report with the execution of the Spanish justice in the process. The Spanish Justice would have acted immaculately, but the Government has failed to defend its execution in the Council of Europe.

Obviously, the Assembly of Parliamentarians of the Council of Europe is not a judicial body, but a political one. Consequently, it cannot review the sentence handed down by the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court or the sentences the Constitutional Court is giving in recent weeks. But he can express an opinion on his perception of the way in which the Catalan nationalists have been proceeded against for their performance in the procés.

The opinion of the Assembly of Parliamentarians of the Council of Europe has no legal value, but it does have a political and moral value. At a time when a debate is open in Spain about the pardons of those convicted by the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court in the ‘procés case’, that political and moral value acquires an importance that no one escapes.

Justice not only has to be done but must appear to be done. Appearance is an element of capital importance in the administration of justice. And it is clear that a reasoned opinion of the Assembly of Parliamentarians of the Council of Europe in which doubts about the execution of the Spanish justice in the ‘procés case’ are revealed cannot fail to have an impact on the debate that is having place in Spain on pardons.

It also rains when it is wet. The Assembly of Parliamentarians of the Council of Europe is a body of a political nature, but for the formation of its opinion it has surely taken into account the decisions that have been adopted by different judicial bodies of various countries of the European Union.

For the Assembly of Parliamentarians of the Council of Europe it cannot be indifferent that the Supreme Court has not managed to convince any European judge that the conduct of the Catalan nationalists in the months of September and October 2017 was constitutive of the crimes of rebellion or sedition. German justice was blunt in this regard through the decision of the Supreme Court of Schleswig-Holstein.

Even more emphatic has been the Belgian justice, which has considered that the Supreme Court has manipulated the rules relating to jurisdiction over the case, assigning itself the status of judge of first instance, thereby violating the fundamental right to the ordinary judge predetermined by law and the right to second instance.

The crime of rebellion and sedition as a result of the events in the months of September and October in Catalonia has not been seen by anything other than the State Attorney General’s Office and the Supreme Court. No non-Spanish judicial body has shared this legal qualification of the acts of Catalan nationalist politicians.

Without the pronouncements of the German, Belgian and Scottish judiciary, as well as without the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union that allowed Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí to acquire the status of members of the European Parliament that had been denied by the Central Electoral Board and the Supreme Court, it is highly unlikely that the question of the action of the Spanish justice regarding Catalan politicians was being raised in the Assembly of Parliamentarians of the Council of Europe.

This Monday we will see what the communiqué of the judicial associations has served. I do not believe that it will have any effect in the Assembly of Parliamentarians of the Council of Europe, although it will give Casado, Abascal and Arrimadas ammunition to continue their campaign against pardons. With its statement, the judicial associations that issue it are only following in the wake of the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court in its letter against pardons, which, although formally addressed to the Government, is materially being used as an instrument of agitation. politics for the Spanish rights and their media terminals.



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