Read in Catalan

A total of 21 investigating judges working in the Barcelona courts have this Thursday added their names to the declaration by Spanish judicial associations against the amnesty law. According to a statement issued by the Catalan High Court (TSJC), a meeting was held this Thursday at the Ciutat de Justícia court complex, summoning a total of 33 Barcelona investigating judges - that is, judges who work in evidence-gathering stages of judicial cases. One of the items on the agenda that they discussed was their adherence to the statement criticising the amnesty law for Catalan independence process cases, negotiated between the Socialists (PSOE) and the pro-independence parties. Tomorrow, Friday, a meeting of the TSJC's chamber of governance will be held, at which these judges will also consider joining the anti-amnesty front.

At today's meeting, of the 33 judges invited, 24 attended and of these, 21 voted in favour of adhering to the critical statement, while one judge took a position against the declaration and two abstained. These 21 investigating judges have followed in the footsteps of the judge dean of Barcelona, Cristina Ferrando, who had already added her support for the statement which rejects the measure to wipe the slate clean for those prosecuted for independence process actions. This week, several judicial initiatives against the amnesty have been carried out in order to put pressure on the PSOE.

Judges and prosecutors take action against the amnesty

Late last week, several Spanish associations of judges and prosecutors released a highly critical statement after the announcement on Thursday 9th November by the PSOE and Junts of their agreement to invest Pedro Sánchez as new Spanish prime minister, considering that the amnesty proposal could "breach the separation of powers" and put judicial independence at risk. In particular they emphasized "the references to lawfare and the judicialization of politics and its consequences", which they consider "unacceptable", since they claim that these concepts reflect a "distrust" of the "functioning of the judiciary". That agreement was signed by the Professional Magistrates Association (APM), the Francisco de Vitoria  Judicial Association (AJFV), Judges and Judges for Democracy (JJpD) and the Independent Judicial Forum (FJI).

The judges and prosecutors stated that "the text of the agreement contains explicit references to the possibility of developing parliamentary committees in order to determine the presence of situations of the judicialization of politics", an initiative that, they warn, could lead to "actions of responsibility or legislative modifications". They report that this practice would involve "subjecting judicial proceedings and decisions to parliamentary review", which implies a "clear interference with judicial independence and a failure of the separation of powers".

In this regard, the judicial associations defend that "judges must be subject only to the rule of law", and note that "judicial power in Spain is independent and has a system of jurisdictional guarantees".

The spokesperson for the Professional and Independent Prosecutors' Association (APIF), Salvador Viada, told Europa Press that the accord between the two parties "is very serious" and implicitly represents "a coup d'état to the Spanish constitutional system", while the amnesty law is "a logical consequence of the concept of change of political regime that PSOE and Junts want". Regarding the committees to analyze possible cases of lawfare, he assessed that such bodies are "harmful to the rule of law", although "consequential" with the idea that the state pursued certain crimes in an "illegitimate" way. "The judges and prosecutors acted as they had to act", he argued. Viada admitted that there is "politicization" in the judiciary, but holds PSOE or Junts responsible for it.