Prosecutor Javier Zaragoza: "This is a trial in defence of Spanish democracy"

The second day of the Catalan independence trial has begun with the previous legal issues of the State Attorney General's Office, the Government Attorney's Office and Vox
Prosecutor Javier Zaragoza: "This is a trial in defence of Spanish democracy"

Prosecutor Javier Zaragoza: "This is a trial in defence of Spanish democracy"

The second day of the Catalan independence trial has begun with the previous legal issues of the State Attorney General's Office, the Government Attorney's Office and Vox
Josep Maria Camps Updated
Catalan independence trial
Prosecutor Javier Zaragoza: "This is a trial in defence of Spanish democracy"
Prosecutors Javier Zaragoza

After the first sitting of the Catalan independence trial in which the defence counsels accused the Supreme Court of violating the rights of the accused and of being biased, the prosecution has been given the floor.

The sitting began shortly after 10 AM, in a more timely fashion than on Tuesday, with a statement by the State Attorney General in answer to the pleas made by the defence counsels.


"Ridiculous" and "unjustified"

On behalf of the State Attorney General's Office, Attorney General Javier Zaragoza opened by describing the pleas made by the defence counsels as   "ridiculous" and "unjustified".

Zaragoza has bluntly asserted that "this is a trial in defence of Spanish democracy".

"Some statements made by the defence counsels, rather than defence please, read like veritable criminal indictments based on an alternative narrative intended to create a distortion of reality."

"Neither the breach of constitutional legality nor the execution of such severe criminal actions that have implied a significant attack against constitutional order can be justified by virtue of the fundamental rights the infraction whereof has been claimed."

"This is intended to turn those who have severely harmed and broken constitutional order into victims of political persecution and, paradoxically, to put the State, which, through its institutions, strived to restore legal order faced with these most severe aggressions with the only instrument that can acceptably be used in a democratic society, namely, the application of the law, in the place of the accused." 


"They have demonstrated" and "they have never been persecuted"

Zaragoza has highlighted that the accused are not being pursued for their political ideas, but for having "carried out criminal actions":

"It is a fallacy of mind-boggling dimensions that must be shouted from the rooftops: nobody, not one of the accused, no-one is or has been persecuted for his or her ideas, but rather, for their actions for the facts that took place in September and October 2017, since the accused have been proclaiming and defending the pro-independence political project for years."

"They have demonstrated, they have summoned mass citizen mobilisations and, as far as the public prosecution is aware, they have never been persecuted, they have never been indicted, they have never been detained or arrested. Criminal justice proceedings were only launched when they carried out actions that surpassed and broke the limits established for fundamental political rights."


The Supreme Court is perfectly competent

After having covered a number of general considerations, the Attorney General went over some of the pleas submitted by the defence counsels.

Among them, he has denied that the right to be judged by a competent court has been violated, with regard to the requests for this trial to be held in the High Court of Justice of Catalonia.

Zaragoza has stated that this question lacks constitutional relevance and that there is sufficient legal precedent to deem the Supreme Court to be perfectly competent.

In this regard, he has justified this competence because a number of "criminal actions" were "committed" outside Catalonia.

An unbiased Court

The Attorney General also stated that the Supreme Court has already resolved all questions on the impartiality of the Court and that there is therefore nothing more to add in this regard.

With regard to the right to a review of criminal conviction and sentence by a higher court, Zaragoza has said that this trial another exception and that this does not violate any rights.

"They prevented the legitimate action of the police like human walls"

The Attorney General held the accused responsible for the violence that took place during the police actions in the context of the 1-O referendum:

"The law enforcement forces and agencies should not be held liable for the violent actions of 1 October in the various polling stations. Rather, the ones who should be held liable are those who, despite being aware of the legality of the referendum process, mobilised thousands of citizens to act as human walls to prevent the legitimate actions of the police that were intended to prevent the referendum from being held and upholding the decisions of the Constitutional Court and the mandate issued by the Supreme Court of Justice."




Puigdemont's witness testimony would "breach all rules of procedure"

Zaragoza has also denied that it would be possible for former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont to make a statement as a witness in the trial through video conference, despite the "insistence" of the defence counsels.

According to the Attorney General, both Puigdemont and Marta Rovira stand "accused in this trial", despite the fact that the case is currently suspended for them:

"To pretend that someone who has been declared in default here should make a statement as a witness through video conference would be in breach of all procedural rules that govern the examination of evidence in court."

Therefore, Zaragoza deems that the cases of Puigdemont and Rovira differ from that of Major Trapero, who will testify in spite of standing accused at the National Court.

Zaragoza, however, has not argued why Puigdemont and Rovira will not be judged in default.

"Undue interference" by the German judiciary

With regard to the case of Carles Puigdemont, Zaragoza has also referred to the ruling of the Court of Schleswig-Holstein that ruled that the accusation of rebellion was "inadmissible".

According to Zaragoza, the decision of this court was "undue interference" in Spanish justice:

"The German court turned a European arrest order into a new legal instrument for cooperation, a European prosecution order. It deemed that it could judge the facts displayed to it and that were the legal basis for the demand to extradite the accused party in default, Puigdemont.

"The German court studied questions that concerned the factual basis of the case, such as the concurrence of a normative element of the crime, the intensity of the violence, or the incriminatory elements that prove his participation, questions that can only be assessed after the investigation has been carried out by the Court in charge."

"It took on the functions of judgment attributed to the Plenary Courtroom of the Supreme Court, and there was therefore undue interference in the jurisdiction of Spanish courts of law."


Prosecutors Javier Zaragoza and Fidel Cadena, on Wednesday in the Supreme Court

"Catalan sovereignty", "post-truth"

Once Zaragoza had closed his statement, the other prosecutor, Fidel Cadena, took the floor and gave a speech that was broader in scope.

According to Cadena, it is impossible to invoke an exclusive right to sovereignty for the nation of Catalonia:

"There is no Catalan sovereignty, there is Spanish sovereignty."

"This sovereignty of the Spanish people is respected in Italy and in Germany. Whenever the Italian or German Constitutional Courts ruled that sovereignty resides in the entirety of the German people or of the Italian people, the designs of the Lega Nord party in Veneto or of Bavaria were cut short, and no-one has dreamt of describing the Italian or German Constitutional Courts, or the Spanish, Italian or German States as being states that oppress democratic order."

Prosecutor Cadena has stated that the pro-independence movement is based on false "post-truths":

"There are a number of truisms or post-truths in the independence process that are untrue. These are expressions which, when repeated a thousand times, seem equivalent to a truth but are not true in the least. All ideological support is based on a number of values. The fact that sovereignty resides in the Spanish people is an absolute value that is proclaimed by the Constitution. The sovereignty of the Spanish people cannot be replaced by that of any of the peoples that compose it."


A "parallel legislation" and an "explosive cocktail"

Cadena has stated that the Catalan Parliament created "a parallel legislation" that prepared "the use of violence":

"A parallel legislation was created to give rise to the idea that the fundamental rights that may be proclaimed are legitimate and created by a regular Parliament. The Board of the Parliament, the governmental and state structures and, ultimately, once the moment has come, the use of violence: all of this was laid down in the White Book, the roadmap and the Enfocats document."

"Do not forget, Schleswig-Holstein, that this is not a group of citizens who wish to achieve power. It is the power of a self-governing region which has decided to unilaterally separate itself from the law in order to achieve the aims of the crime outlined in article 427."

According to Cadena, all of this became an "explosive cocktail of unilateralism":

"And when we add to this explosive cocktail of unilateralism, complete separation from the law, and denial of the constitutional functions of the state, the constituted power of a self-governing region with coercion of the law and, besides that, the power of the Catalan police, who sided completely with the rebellion, as well as the use of masses that launched themselves against the forces of the State that intended, pursuant to to court orders, avoid the referendum, the violence and intimidation proclaimed in article 472 of the Criminal Code have obviously been incurred."

ANC and Òmnium, the "basis" of "violence"

Cadena has stated that the actions of Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez, at the head of Òmnium and the ANC, were "the basis" of "the exercise of said violence":

"The leaders of civil associations are here, and they are not being incriminated for their ideas, but rather because, in the last act of disconnection from the State, they were the bases of the exercise of said violence. On 20 September and 1 October, social leaders managed to displace the police and law enforcement forces of the state, which adopted a position of omission that was deliberately beyond fulfilment of the Constitution. This is where those who were originally intended to expel the forces of the State from the beginning took on a role greater than institutional powers, as said forces failed to avoid the referendum with 6 or 7 thousand armed men."


Catalan independence trial