Public Authorities, Rule of law and freedom of expression before the Council of Europe –

On the time I write these traces (June 18, 2021), there are three days left for the Plenary of the Parliamentary Meeting of the Council of Europe to vote on a proposal for a decision of monumental significance, not just for Spain, however for the set of Europe. The movement for a decision is the work of the Latvian Socialist MP Boriss Cilevičs, who had the charge from research the scenario of politicians investigated or in jail for having exercised their freedom of expression. From right here, Cilevičs elaborates a textual content wherein he analyzes, on the one hand, the scenario of freedom of expression of politicians in Turkey and, on the opposite, the occasions that occurred in Catalonia in 2017 and the State’s response to them . Right here we are going to solely take care of the half referring to Spain.

The method to the report ready by the Latvian editor, and which serves as the premise for the movement for a decision that was accredited on June three by the Committee on Authorized Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Meeting of the Council of Europe and which is voted on by the Plenary on the 21st, is that those that have been tried in Spain for the occasions of 2017, in addition to those that have fled justice and those that are at the moment being investigated (about 2000 officers of the Generalitat of Catalonia) they’re resulting from demonstrations made within the train of their political mandate or for calling peaceable demonstrations. To any extent further, The consequence can’t be aside from a delegitimization of the response of the State that leads –Within the model of the proposed decision accredited by the Committee on Authorized Affairs and Human Rights– to ask Spain to pardon those that have been sentenced, withdraw the extradition requests for individuals who fled justice and put an finish to the investigations which might be underway.

If the decision is accredited, it won’t have necessary results for Spain. That is only a advice; however this doesn’t diminish its political significance, because it supposes a place taken by one of many establishments that make up the Council of Europe and, due to this fact, of vital consideration. We aren’t going through a decision that may be aired with a shrug of the shoulders, however we have now to investigate how a proposal that, as we are going to see, has reached this stage not solely contains errors and misrepresentations; Slightly, it implies taking a place that’s opposite to what are the important ideas of the Council of Europe, amongst which is respect for the rule of regulation and democratic ideas.

Past errors, negligence or clumsy partisan makes an attempt, what is evident is that it has not been potential to elucidate what the occasions of 2017 consisted of. The notion overseas is, for essentially the most half, that it was a well-liked rebellion that pitted residents in opposition to public energy. Those that have been detained and tried will not be seen for what they have been: authorities and officers who used public energy and assets for an unlawful goal. This attitude is absent in its entirety within the doc voted by the Parliamentary Meeting of the Council of Europe and really most likely virtually nobody outdoors of Spain assumes it. The fault, to a big extent, is that there are nonetheless many in Spain who refuse to look at what occurred in 2017 from that perspective. It’s, nonetheless, an inexcusable method.

In 2017 what occurred is that the authorities on the head of the autonomous authorities of Catalonia (greater than 25,000 million euros of annual price range) determined to cease performing throughout the constitutional and authorized framework to represent an impartial State within the territory of the Autonomous Group, which required the repeal of the Structure, which was ready via the so-called disconnection legal guidelines accredited on September 6 and seven within the Parliament of Catalonia. For a number of weeks, these authorities managed to get the autonomous establishments to undertake norms and selections that contravened the Structure and that entailed disobeying the Constitutional Court docket. As well as, this motion of the general public energy outdoors the regulation meant that public assets have been devoted to unlawful functions and that the rights of residents have been violated, together with their proper to privateness, through the use of private information with out their consent for the preparation of an unlawful census. The aim of those that participated on this try to repeal the Structure in Catalonia included the demonstration of the shortcoming of the State to function within the Catalan territoryTo this finish, the blocking of a judicial fee on September 20, the holding of the self-determination referendum on October 1 and likewise the so-called “nation strike” on October three was framed.

It’s these details that served as the premise for the conviction by the Supreme Court docket, for the give up requests of these concerned who’re outdoors of Spain and for the investigations which might be open: embezzlement of public funds, illegitimate use of non-public information, disobedience by public authorities to judicial selections and an try to render the Spanish Structure ineffective within the territory of Catalonia. The proposed decision that’s supposed to be accredited by the Council of Europe doesn’t enter into any of the above, however fairly makes a distorted story that features apparent falsehoods (For instance, that in September the Ministry of the Inside took management of the Mossos d’Esquadra, which didn’t occur till October 27, after the approval by the Senate of the measures that the federal government proposed on the premise of of article 155 of the Structure). For the aforementioned decision, the response of the Spanish state was to mere statements or to the decision for demonstrations which might be thought of peaceable, although the identical report by the rapporteur acknowledges that there have been greater than 400 law enforcement officials injured in a single day.

The truth that the decision doesn’t enter what’s mentioned right here doesn’t make it disappear. The occasions that occurred are these defined right here, so {that a} decision of the Parliamentary Meeting that delegitimizes the response of the State in opposition to them supposes to guard the misappropriation of public funds, the unlawful use of non-public information of residents, the obstruction of the duty of judicial or police commissions in compliance with courtroom orders and the try to repeal the Structure whatever the procedures supplied by it. Briefly, it represents a delegitimization of the rule of regulation and a victory for populism.

That’s the reason the approval of the proposed decision that we’re commenting on is severe. From the Spanish perspective, it signifies that one of many European international locations with the best degree of democracy in line with worldwide rankings and one of many ones which have obtained the fewest convictions by the Strasbourg Court docket needs to be thought of as a State within the which you can find yourself in jail for ensuring political statements or calling for peaceable demonstrations. From the attitude of the entire of Europe it implies that an establishment such because the Council of Europe, which is a benchmark within the protection of democratic ideas and the rule of regulation, abandons this protection to guard populism which claims that the actions of public powers outdoors the regulation are legit and that petitions, even when they’re unlawful and violate particular person rights, in the event that they discover assist within the streets, should be addressed. It’s a time for all of us to behave responsibly and for these of us who nonetheless consider that the rule of regulation and the remainder of the ideas that give which means to our democracies.

Allow us to elevate our voices in opposition to the abandonment of those ideas by those that are referred to as to protect and defend them.

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