The Parliament of Catalonia has decided to lay a complaint against Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena for violating the political rights of a Catalan MP, Jordi Sànchez. The complaint of malfeasance against the judge has been presented after the court prevented Sanchez's participation in the investiture session that was to have been held on Friday, with the jailed MP presenting his candidature for the Catalan presidency. But judge Llarena did not give him permission to leave Estremera prison in order to appear in Parliament and nor to carry out the session by means of videoconferencing. On this occasion, unlike in the first investiture of Sanchez in March which was also judicially blocked, the judge has also chosen to overlook the recommendations made by the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
The pro-independence majority in Parliament's presiding bureau has stood firm despite threats from Spanish government spokesperson Iñigo Méndez de Vigo, who declared after the latest Spanish cabinet meeting a decision to pursue such measures "could lead to unfortunate consequences for those who adopted it ", as well as from Spanish justice minister Rafael Catalá who asserted that the complaint "threatens" and "tries to coerce" the judge. The Ciutadanos (Cs) and Partido Popular (PP) groups have announced that they will investigate the possibility that Parliament's complaint involves a misuse of public funds.
It is obvious that a legal move of this type is an exceptional measure. As exceptional as the events that are taking place in Catalan politics and which have been altering the normal functioning of the institutions ever since the results of the December 21st election were known, reelecting a parliament with a pro-independence majority. Depriving elected members of parliament of their rights - in this case, prohibiting an MP who is being held in jail on remand from being eligible for office - is a major anomaly. It is obvious that Parliament has the right to defend itself in the designated ways when it asserts that both its integrity as an institution and also the individual rights of each of the 135 deputies are being breached. This defence, in this instance by making a criminal charge, could in other circumstances make use of other judicial routes as well.
There is, then, no misappropriation of public money taking place in my view, since among parliament's competencies is the defence of its own integrity when that is necessary. And this is all quite apart from the fact that the most logical and reasonable outcome would have been if the matter had not reached this point, and Judge Llarena had taken heed of the recommendation of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, an international body that with its advice opened a door enabling the judge to adjust the course he had followed up till then without it being necessarily seen as a rectification. But it seems that the only strategy possible is that of full speed ahead.