The lifting of Puigdemont’s immunity

With nearly 60% of the votes in favor, the European Parliament has accepted to withdraw the European parliamentary immunity of the previous president of the Generalitat of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont and of the 2 former Counselors, Clara Ponsatí and Toni Comín, who had been in workplace since January 13, 2020, once they took workplace.

The story – greater than recognized to all – dates again to October 2017, when the unlawful referendum of October 1 and the very temporary unilateral declaration of independence of Catalonia -remember that it lasted eight seconds-, led to the imputation and imprisonment of the principle leaders of the govern of the second. Nonetheless, seven of them managed to flee Spain earlier than being arrested by the police authorities, whose foremost locations have been Belgium, Switzerland and Scotland.

On November 3, 2017, the Nationwide Courtroom issued a European Arrest Warrant towards Carles Puigdemont for disobeying the court docket summons to testify as a defendant for the crimes of revolt, sedition and embezzlement of public funds. The euro order is a course of between judicial authorities that permits any member state to detain and hand over an individual accused of against the law in one other EU nation, as is the case.

Shortly after, Pablo Llarena, Justice of the Peace of the Second Chamber of the Supreme Courtroom and teacher of the case, withdrew the euro order towards all of the fled politicians to forestall the Belgian courts, by handing them over to the Spanish justice, from limiting the crimes for which they could possibly be tried just for the crime of embezzlement of public funds. Allow us to keep in mind that the crime of revolt doesn’t have a authorized equal in Belgian justice, so if Puigdemont have been extradited from Belgium, he couldn’t be charged with this crime.

All through this course of, the remainder of counselors That they had been positioned in preventive custody till October 14, 2019, when the Supreme Courtroom issued convictions starting from disqualification from holding public workplace to 13 years in jail for the crimes of sedition and embezzlement of public funds towards the principle independence leaders concerned within the course of. The Excessive Courtroom, subsequently, dominated out the crime of revolt on the understanding that the requirement of violence required by article 472 et seq. of the Penal Code.

As a consequence of the truth that the appliance of the crime of revolt was dominated out within the Supreme Courtroom ruling – which was the principle obstacle to requesting the extradition of Puigdemont and the previous councilorsChoose Llarena, on the identical day, issued an order issuing a euro order for his or her arrest and supply. Consequently, the Belgian courts started the process to determine whether or not or not they lastly granted the extradition request.

Nonetheless, the inauguration of their positions as MEPs in January 2020 granted them Euro-parliamentary immunity that forestalls those that take pleasure in it from being detained or prosecuted within the territory of any member state, which meant the suspension of all procedures judicial proceedings that have been being carried out within the Belgian courts, within the case of Puigdemont and Comín, and British courts, in that of Ponsatí, on the admission of the euro order introduced by the Supreme Courtroom.

This immunity, as we already know, shouldn’t be absolute, since it may be withdrawn by settlement of the vast majority of the European Parliament, in accordance with Article 9 of its Guidelines of Process. Pablo Llarena in his tireless work to conclude the investigation of the case of the course of, initiated the legally established process and requested the President of Parliament to course of the request, who, in flip, communicated and forwarded the request to the Authorized Affairs Committee of the European Parliament.

The Fee issued a report in favor of accepting the request and, subsequently, lifting the immunity loved by the three pro-independence MEPs. The final step was to have the approval of the vast majority of the members of the European Parliament. Lastly, final Tuesday, March 9, it was made public that the Chamber had determined to just accept the request and withdraw their immunity with a big majority.

And what does it imply that their European parliamentary immunity has been withdrawn?

Within the first place, the acceptance of the request doesn’t imply that the pro-independence MEPs will lose their standing as deputy, nor does it imply that they are going to be mechanically extradited to Spain pursuant to the Euroorder. This is because of the truth that the European Arrest Warrant has 32 acknowledged crimes for which the accused could be mechanically handed over to the issuer of the identical. Nonetheless, when the crime shouldn’t be contained among the many above, as is the case with the crimes of revolt and sedition, the procedures are extra advanced and require an equivalence of the offense within the penal codes of the receiving state of the euro order.

Withdrawal of immunity signifies that the judicial processes that had been suspended in Belgium and the UK on the acceptance of the euro order and, with it, the arrest and give up of the independence leaders requested by the Spanish courts, it reactivates.

Now the query is whether or not the Belgian and British courts will settle for the Euro order and hand over the three pro-independence MEPs to be tried for a similar crimes for which their fellow celebration members have been sentenced.

The best reluctance to just accept the Euroorder has been the Belgian courts, which have taken a place towards facilitating authorized proceedings towards pro-independence leaders who’ve fled from Spanish justice – it’s no coincidence that it has been the vacation spot chosen by a lot of them. On August 7, he denied the euro order towards Lluís Puig, additionally ex-Catalan councilor fled after 1-O, requested by the Spanish Supreme Courtroom decoding that this court docket was not competent to request itAs a substitute, it ought to have been a Catalan court docket that issued it.

Nonetheless, Choose Llarena has already anticipated this chance and has referred a query to the CJEU for a preliminary ruling to make clear who’s competent to request the Euroorder and, above all, what are the the reason why a member state can deny it to a different member state. This final query opens a debate on whether or not it even is sensible that the courts of a member state, which function a shelter for individuals who have dedicated crimes in one other member state, can deny their give up in order that they are often tried within the place the place the occasions occurred. Even when a nationwide who has carried out conduct labeled as against the law in his nation, can’t be prosecuted by them for a easy lack of coincidence of crimes between member states.

It’s true that the European Arrest Warrant, usually, is an environment friendly and developed extradition process, and it additionally appears cheap that minimal ensures are required in protection of the Elementary Rights of the accused. Nonetheless, the issue arises when a member state, with out sufficiently justified trigger greater than purely political, be reluctant to facilitate the arrest and give up of sure individuals, interfering with the the precise to punish of one other member state and, finally, questioning the judicial ensures and the independence of its powers. Mistrust, in precept, unfounded if we consider that the European Union requires all its members to be nations with secure establishments that assure a full and consolidated democracy, a Rule of Regulation that respects Human Rights and protects minorities, in addition to frequent values ​​which are characterised, amongst others, by an space of ​​freedom, safety and justice with out borders.

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