Belgium confirms the failure in Europe of Spanish justice

Catalan MonitorAra, News Roundup

Photo: Meritxell Serret, Lluís Puig and Toni Comín, in Brussels (Credit: ACN)

By Editorial Team, Ara

From 16th May, 2018

Spanish justice received a tough push-back yesterday [15th May] in Belgium with the denial of the extradition of the Catalan government councilors-in-exile, Meritxell Serret, Lluís Puig and Toni Comín. The [Spanish] Supreme Court has once again shipwrecked on the international stage, as has happened in other countries playing host to pro-independence exiles: Germany (Carles Puigdemont), Scotland (Clara Ponsatí) and Switzerland (Marta Rovira and Anna Gabriel). The decision by Belgian justice, at the request of the prosecutor’s office there, reinforces the Catalan strategy of internationally denouncing the arbitrariness of the Spanish High Courts, and once again undermines the decision by the government of Mariano Rajoy to avoid addressing what is clearly a political issue, politically.

The decision to respond judicially to the will of a majority in Catalonia who decided their political future by ballot box has left the State out of favour in the face of European justice and public opinion, who do not understand why there are political and social democratic leaders locked in the prison preventively nor the inability of the executive of Mariano Rajoy to sit down at a table to discuss, negotiate, and offer an exit to the impasse. Judge Pablo Llarena has essentially been hanging Rajoy out to dry in front of Spain’s continental partners. The irritated reaction of the Supreme Court faced with the decision of its Belgian colleagues perfectly demonstrates the problem: with the Catalan clamour, “Brand Spain” is suffering a global image crisis. In this context, Rajoy must quickly accept a meeting with the new Catalan president, Quim Torra, even though Torra’s government program formally maintains the key pro-independence pillars in place. Rajoy has not only been needing a Catalan president to guarantee the approval of the budgets, but he has also needed one to stage a dialogue.

But the dialogue will hardly be fruitful until politics takes on the role currently being played by the justice system, but once the machinery of the courts has been fired up, this is not so simple. Nor is it clear that no one wants it. In fact, the leader of the PSOE, Pedro Sánchez, having sung the same tune as Rajoy in relation to Catalonia, has insisted on the judicial route, and supported the petition to adapt the definition of the crime of rebellion in the Criminal Code to new circumstances, that is, to expand its assumptions beyond that of a “military coup”. Therefore, despite the failures in European justice, the PP and PSOE continue to rely essentially on the supposed criminalization route, at the expense of finding a political, democratic exit. They are all guided by an abusive interpretation of the law and, if necessary, a change in the law. Along these lines, the conflict will only be deepened.

While there are political prisoners and exiled politicians, while there are thousands of court proceedings against teachers or mayors, while justice pre-empts freedom of expression, there is no possible win for an argument of a political nature conceived from pacifism and democratic spirit.


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