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Judges of international and UN courts participated in a congress, with UB professor Helena Torroja as the only Spanish speaker, who states that the "procés" violates human rights

María Jesús Cañizares

20.09.2019 00:00 h.

“Discussing whether self-determination includes a right of secession is not simply an academic debate. It is much more serious. Peace, justice, human rights and our society are currently in danger throughout Europe. ”

This is how blunt Helena Torroja Mateu, an associate professor of Public International Law at the University of Barcelona (UB), the only Spanish speaker at the Annual Conference of the European Society of International Law held in Athens (Greece) last 12 to 14 September.

This is one of the most prestigious international legal forums in the world, and this year he dedicated his sessions to the topic “Sovereignty: ¿A concept in a state of fluctuation?”

More than 300 people attended these days, which brought together 90 speakers from 30 countries, including judges of the International Court of Justice, the Court of the Law of the Sea, the International Criminal Court and other United Nations bodies, judges of courts National Supreme and Legal Directors of Ministries of Foreign Affairs and International Organizations.

The falsehoods of ‘procés’

Professor Torroja delivered the conference Self-determination of peoples versus human rights in liberal democracies. The case of Catalonia.

The expert demonstrated with legal arguments the falsehoods of the so-called procés, whose main intellectual drivers shone by their absence. Despite its international propaganda work, which invokes alleged resolutions of European justice and the United Nations against the Spanish State, any pro-independece leader was present at this forum.

“The right to external self-determination does not apply in Catalonia or to any minority within a State; its exclusive owners are the colonial and occupied peoples. Under no circumstances does the rule include the right to separation from the State. On the contrary, it protects its territorial integrity. Secession as a remedy is a doctrine without a legal basis, although some authors defend it as lege ferenda (for a future reform of the law), Torroja said in his speech.

A violation of human rights

And she warned: “When a part of the population of a liberal democracy, such as Spain, claims and demands the right to self-determination against its Constitution, it implies a violation of the fundamental human rights of the entire population of that State, including those of who do not want secession in the territory in question. Anyone who makes such erroneous statements in the context of an EU Member State does not respect the rule of law. It exhibits important errors in its scientific method, and is under the influence, disinterested or not, of secessionist forces. ”

She warned that, in Catalonia, there is a divided society. In this regard, she explained that between 50 and 51% of the population “demand their right to democracy, respect for the Constitution and their basic human rights,” but these rights “were violated by the laws of the referendum and for the disconnection, approved on September 6 and 7, 2017, respectively. ” In parallel, between 49% and 50% of the population “are demanding their sui generis right to democracy, against EU standards and principles. They claim their right to respect a non-existent international norm, under the leadership of the politicians who lied to them. And worse, they encouraged the start of a kind of exclusive ethnic nationalism, something we thought had been erased from western and eastern Europe. ”

The professor denied that Catalonia is part of an “oppressive state” (Spain), as the independentists affirm. “It is the opposite, the Catalan Government, in a state as decentralized as Spain, is the one that violates with its secessionist process the fundamental rights of a part of the Catalan population, as well as the fundamental collective right to the internal self-determination of all the Spanish population”.


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