The association Juezas y jueces para la Democracia (Judges for Democracy), formed of progressive Spanish judges, has this Tuesday criticised "inadmissible contacts" between the Spanish government and judges of the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court. In a public statement (link in Spanish), they criticise the Justice minister, Rafael Catalá, and the Spanish government for alleged interference in the justice system to influence decisions about the Catalan independence process.
Catalá, last Thursday, took it for granted that pro-independence leaders will be banned from public office when Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena ends the case's investigation phase at the end of March. The judges call his words "unfortunate", say they show "little respect for the separation of powers" and express their surprise that the minister made the comment "without any shame".
The same week, Spanish newspaper El País reported that various members of the Spanish executive, including prime minister Mariano Rajoy himself, had allegedly called Constitutional Court judges just before their deliberations over the appeal to suspend Puigdemont's investiture.
The silence of the General Council of the Judiciary
The judges note that the Constitutional Court "is the supreme interpreter of the Constitution" and that "its judges are independent and immovable" and that, as such, they believe such contacts "to try to influence the direction of the verdict" are "inadmissible" in a country under the "rule of law". As well as the "unacceptable interference", they also criticise the "inaction and silence" of the General Council of the Judiciary.
The consequence of such attitudes from the executive and judicial branches "reduce the credibility" of all judges in their everyday activities, they say. As such, they encourage distancing justice "from all suspicion of partiality or manipulation" and ask for respect for the working of the Constitutional Court, addressing in the first place the Spanish government itself.