More than thirty laws have passed the filter of their processing in Congress during the year that is about to end. 17 of them were approved, others declined due to lack of support or due to early elections. But there is one that, like no other, has stirred up the third power of the State even before its literal nature was known.

The amnesty law—and the investiture agreements that accompany it—have found an unprecedented movement promoted by conservative sectors of the judiciary and the prosecutor’s office, determined as never before in democracy to combat decisions of the other two powers, the Executive and the Legislative , with all the impossible speakers. And ignoring, in the process, their obligation to maintain the appearance of impartiality in the partisan debate.

Dressed in the togas that they are required to wear during procedural acts, judges and prosecutors have demonstrated in front of the courts and tribunals; Its government chambers – dominated by the conservative Professional Association of the Judiciary (APM) – have issued forceful statements against a law when it was not even known, and the spokespersons of the main associations in the judicial field, and even judges and prosecutors at an individual level , have been lavished in interviews, articles or messages on social networks warning about the supposed “annihilation of the separation of powers.”

At the center of the response is an expired body, whose renewal the Popular Party has blocked for five years. The General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), the body responsible for the organization of the courts and tribunals, made a statement contrary to the amnesty law when not a single word of the text was known. Before any draft had emerged, the majority of members elected at the time at the proposal of the Popular Party managed to carry out a resolution that warned that the future norm was going to mean “the abolition of the rule of law.”

The members of the minority progressive bloc and the interim president of the body, Vicente Guilarte, alighted from that agreement, who has shown himself to be very belligerent in the face of the allusions to the parliamentary investigation commissions included in the investiture agreement signed between the PSOE and Junts. The document does not contemplate the automatic inclusion in the amnesty law of cases that the independence movement considers ‘lawfare’ – or judicial persecution for political reasons – but it does open the door for this type of issues to be addressed in investigative commissions in the Congress.

Finally, the approved commissions are three: one on Operation Catalunya, the maneuvers concocted by the Ministry of the Interior during the PP era, to seek information against secessionism; another about espionage on independentists through the Pegasus software, including President Pere Aragonés; and the most controversial, about the jihadist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils. Everything indicates, therefore, that this supposed political trial of members of the judiciary – encouraged by ERC and Junts – is not going to take place. The commissions are focused on the police sewer and the actions of the CNI, the organization to which all eyes were directed after the Pegasus scandal broke out.

Commissions and lawfare

Despite this, the references to ‘lawfare’ in the agreement between PSOE and Junts greatly outraged the judicial world and all the associations of judges and prosecutors – also the progressive ones – launched statements of reproach when they understood that it implied an “interference in judicial independence.” and a breakdown of the separation of powers.” The naming by Junts leaders of judges with names and surnames contributed to elevating the soufflé in the following weeks. So much so that the president of the Supreme Court, Francisco Marín, even canceled an institutional meeting with the Minister of Justice, Félix Bolaños, which was already scheduled by Moncloa.

The official version maintained that the suspension was due to “unsurgent circumstances”, but the sources consulted in the High Court framed the sit-in in the deep unrest existing among its magistrates after the parliamentary spokesperson for Junts, Miriam Nogueras, called it “indecent” to Pablo Llarena, instructor of the procés cause; or Manuel Marchena, visible face of the trial that ended in sentences of up to 13 years in prison from the tribune of Congress.

These barrages have forced Bolaños to work hard to try to pacify relations with an important sector of the judiciary. Since he took over the portfolio he has taken advantage almost every time a microphone has been placed in front of him to reiterate his support for the judges. The minister’s attitude is valued in sectors of the Supreme Court – where they celebrate the meeting finally held with its president, Francisco Marín -, although there are also those who reproach him for a certain delay in his reaction.

It is a criticism that has been joined by the interim president of the CGPJ, who since he was elected as the oldest member of the body has not spared public pronouncements and reprimands to politicians for “attacks” on judges. “Welcome are those correct words, which, defended in another time and scenario, might have avoided capturing the disturbing Anglicism [en alusión al ‘lawfare’] in any document and, surely, we would have avoided the tensions that we have experienced,” he stated in reference to the public position of the PSOE against calling judges to these commissions, as the independentistas intend.

Some summons that, if they occur – which seems very unlikely given the refusal of the socialists – the CGPJ has already warned that it will not authorize. And that, according to its president, would open an institutional “clash.” It is not the only issue on which Guilarte has spoken, who has also asked the Government not to encourage “disagreements by declassifying, for spurious dissemination” documents such as those related to the use of Pegasus by the CNI after the Government said that if a judge “requested declassification and it did not affect national security” it would proceed.

“The beginning of the end of democracy”

In any case, in the field of the judiciary, the most intense criticism of the criminal relief of the process and those investigative commissions has come from the APM, with a conservative tendency and majority in the race. The Association has 1,355 members out of a total of 5,408 active judges and magistrates. Even before the law was registered, this association predicted “the beginning of the end of democracy” and stated that it is a measure that breaks the rules of the 1978 Constitution and “blows up the rule of law.”

Its president, Judge María Jesús del Barco, has lavished interviews and in recent days has raised the tone to the point of stating that after the “signaling” of judges by Junts, the next thing will be to place the magistrates “ the star bracelet”, in reference to the one imposed by the Nazis on the Jews.

In the area of ​​the Prosecutor’s Office, the main objections to the amnesty have come from the Association of Prosecutors (AF), with a conservative tendency and majority in the race, which even asked the European Commission by letter to intervene to stop any initiative of decriminalization of 1-O, expressly pointing out the mechanisms used by the EU to try to sanction Poland and Hungary. Its president, Cristina Dexeus, has also given several interviews in which she has strongly criticized the criminal relief of the process. However, the action of the AF has been especially directed at the State Attorney General, Álvaro García Ortiz, considering that he has had a lukewarm attitude towards the issue of amnesty and lawfare.

García Ortiz has shown on several occasions in public his express support for the actions of the members of the Prosecutor’s Office in all the procedures linked to or derived from the so-called ‘procés’, but he has declined to comment on the amnesty, understanding that it does not fall within his scope. competencies. “I will not issue any partisan political statements. From no party. It is not my responsibility to judge or explain agreements of a political nature,” he stated on December 21 in Congress.

From the “psychopathic” president to the “grievous” attorney general

Beyond the criticism from the associative sphere – which has greater protection recognized – there are also judges who at an individual level have taken shelter under social networks or the opinion pages of right-wing media outlets to charge against the Government. Perhaps the most paradigmatic case is that of Madrid judge Manuel Ruiz de Lara, who used his networks to call the President of the Government a “psychopath without ethical limits” or the State Attorney General “personification of dishonor.” He closed his Twitter account after the CGPJ opened a file against him.

But there is more. On the same day that the Supreme Court ruling annulled the promotion of the former State Attorney General Dolores Delgado was announced, one of the signatories of that resolution, José Luis Requero, signed an article in La Razón in which he accused the left and the nationalism of “having caused a civil war or practicing state terrorism” and called the Constitutional Court and the State Attorney General’s Office “disgraceful.” Statements that seem to be the perfect example of the “politicization of justice” that are denounced by the same people who demonstrate before courts and tribunals or predict “the beginning of the end of democracy” if the decriminalization of the acts that derive from illegal acts are definitively approved. independence referendum.

Some of the most controversial decisions have not so much to do with public positions, but with judicial activity itself. And there the judge of the National Court, Manuel García Castellón, has stood out, who on the eve of the PSOE negotiation with Carles Puigdemont and Junts promoted the Tsunami case, opened four years ago, to now charge the former Catalan president with a crime of terrorism. To achieve this accusation, the judge had to link Puigdemont with the alleged Tsunami organization, something that the Civil Guard did not even do in its final report, and then hold the protesters responsible for having caused the death by heart attack of a foreign tourist who had to reach El Prat airport on foot. García Castellón’s movement has been denounced by the pro-independence parties as an obvious sign of ‘lawfare’ in the Spanish justice system.


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