Jordi García-Petit Pàmies
1 December 2022
A damaging narrative is being constructed for our coexistence, for the interpretation of democracy and the rule of law, and for the impartiality of the judicial system, and that is that in 2017 there was no crime in the acts of the secessionists aimed at making Catalonia independent from Spain.
The story is strengthened by the repeal of the crime of sedition for which some of the pro-independence leaders were convicted.
In fact, the story had been brewing since before October 2017 when they claimed, and it was one of the favourite statements made by Oriol Junqueras, that “voting is normal”, “voting is not a crime”. This is only true if you vote in the cases and with the requirements set out in the law. There is no other interpretation.
The suppression of the crime of sedition, even if it is replaced by another criminal offence, facilitates the plausibility of the story under construction, at least for those predisposed to believe it – in principle, the voters of the pro-independence parties – plus the generous, willing to turn the page.
We will hear a mellifluous, colloquial, indulgent Oriol Junqueras, the architect of the story: “You see how we were right, sedition is not a crime, we did not commit any crime”; something that, in addition to being false, is a mockery of non-independence supporters.
Let us now leave aside the criminal qualification of the facts, with regard to which there has been an impertinent attempt to seek homologation with the criminal legislation of our European environment, and let us move on to the brief description of the facts.
On 6 and 7 September 2017, a regional parliament, a constituted power, not a constituent power – the Parliament is nothing else, just like the parliaments of Scotland, Bavaria or Flanders – without the power to do so, with the sole vote of the pro-independence MPs, passed a referendum law and a law of “disconnection” from the constitutional and statutory order, laws that were declared null and void by the Constitutional Court.
Ignoring the annulment, pro-independence leaders, some institutional and others civilian, proceeded to organise and call a vote on the question “Do you want Catalonia to be independent in the form of a republic?”, a call that was also annulled by the courts.
Despite the annulment, the vote was held with many irregularities and the forced intervention of the police in compliance with court orders. On the basis of the supposed result of the vote, proclaimed by the Government of the Generalitat, on 27 October the Parliament approved a declaration of independence of Catalonia in which it appealed to states and international organisations to recognise the Catalan republic as an independent and sovereign state.
So much for the main facts.
Now it is pertinent to seek homologation with neighbouring countries, but factually. In none, and let us take as a reference France, Germany and Italy, with which we tend to compare ourselves in various fields, in none, I repeat, would the events described be considered “normal” and not constituting a crime.
In all three countries they would be considered a very serious subversion of the constitutional order, since none of the respective Constitutions contemplates the legality of the secession of a part of the territory. Even an agreed independence would not be legal; the Constitution would first have to be reformed, introducing a sui generis formula that could be used pro forma by the secession candidate region.
Each country would criminalise the acts causing the acts in accordance with its own legislation, taking into account the way in which the acts were carried out, the perpetrator and the aggravating or mitigating circumstances, if any.
And this was the action of the powers of the State in Spain with the specificities of our legislation, just as other countries would have done, in accordance with their constitutions and laws.
That after the social and political consequences of the so-called “procés”, which has left us with a divided, lacerated society, with multiple losses, some of them irreparable, we should be made to swallow the gigantic millstone of “there was no crime” is, if nothing else, of monumental impudence, an insult to intelligence, something, moreover, frequent in the procés, in line with that “Llibertat presos polítics” (Free political prisoners).
That despicable group photo they took on leaving prison celebrating the pardons, that “we’ll do it again” cockiness, that insulting brazenness with which they strut before their dwindling followers is all they have left. They have failed in everything else.