Editorial La Vanguardia 1 May 2021
The Minister of Health (January 2021), Salvador Illa, together with the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, in the Congress of Deputies EFE
Better sooner than later. With this title, we published on January 17 an editorial in which we advocated accelerating the granting of the government pardon to the twelve convicted in the trial of the procés. In it we lamented the parsimony with which the State addresses the Catalan conflict and, in particular, the search for a solution for it, despite the fact that said conflict has divided Catalan society, destabilized Spanish society and has given wings to extremisms of the opposite sign. And we also considered that the granting of the measure of grace implied by the pardon could introduce into said conflict a factor of relaxation that is beneficial to society as a whole.
Three and a half months have passed since the publication of the aforementioned editorial, and progress on the path to clemency has been, for all practical purposes, little. That is why it is positive news that the Supreme Court is now preparing to reactivate the drafting of the opinion on this matter, after the Madrid regional elections, called for next Tuesday the 4th.
The Supreme Court will return after 4-M to work on the opinion of the prisoners of the ‘procés’
Obviously, the electoral calendar would not have to influence the rhythms of the High Court. But there is an unwritten law that advises postponing decisions on sensitive political matters that may influence the course of campaigns. On the other hand, and according to the pronouncement of the Supreme in matters such as third degrees for those convicted in the cause of the process, it is not foreseeable that its opinion will be favorable to pardons. But since its concession is a government grace, that would be of relative importance. The issuance of the opinion is mandatory for the Government to grant or not the pardon, but the content of said opinion is not binding on the Executive. So that once such an opinion is in the power of the Ministry of Justice, and after its holder raises it to the Council of Ministers, the latter could decide on the matter without further delay. And although previous decisions of the Supreme Court incline us to think, as we have already pointed out, that its opinion may not be favorable to the prisoners, the Government has shown its vocation for dialogue and its desire to reduce the tension that has marked for years relations between the Generalitat and the State, so it may want to grant this pardon. What’s more, some sources indicate that their intention is to make it effective immediately after the summer.
In any case, and always with the desire to accelerate the granting of the pardon, we are happy that the Supreme Court now returns to the ruling. The rumored possibility that Andalusia will advance its autonomies could once again suppose, if it were to materialize, a new stop in this process. As would also have supposed the delay to this month of May, finally aborted, of the Catalan elections of February 14.
Although the prerogative of the pardon is exclusively governmental, all those involved in this matter must do their part if they really want the best not only for the prisoners, but also for the whole of Catalonia and Spain. As is easily understandable, the repeated claims of some pro-independence leaders, stating that they would do what they did again, may perhaps unite their followers, but they undoubtedly upset the judges and constitute an obstacle to the gestures of concord that the Government may have. .
The illegal and failed independence attempt of 2017 has already revealed its limits. The current government has exhibited a greater propensity for dialogue than the one led by Rajoy. Those convicted in the trial for the procés have been in prison for three years. And the so-called Catalan conflict continues to wreak havoc on our society. It is urgent to move forward to solve it. And a pardon would be a step forward in that direction. The sooner the better.