Romeva: "I did not quit because what we did is lawful, legitimate and even legal"Just as Junqueras did, the former foreign affairs Catalan minister deemed himself to be a "political prisoner"
Raül Romeva said at the beginning of his interrogation: "I deem myself to be a political prisoner"
"I deem myself to be a political prisoner". These were the first words that the former Foreign Affairs Minister, Raül Romeva, pronounced in the Catalan independence trial, in which he also defended not having committed any illegal act:
"I did not quit because what we did is lawful, legitimate and even legal."
His interrogation started at 4:30 PM this Tuesday, after the declaration of the Foreign Minister of the Presidency of the Generalitat (Catalan Government), Jordi Turull.
Just as the former Vice President Oriol Junqueras did, Romeva answered only questions from his defence counsel, Andreu Van den Eynde. He did it without holding any documents on the table as well, and also deemed himself, beyond his professional career, to be a "political prisoner".
"At the moment I am a deputy in the Parliament of Catalonia, relieved of my duties by this court, and I have been in prison for 365 days now. Therefore I deem myself to be a political prisoner."
Romeva defined himself as "democratic, republican and European". He also added, following the line set out by Junqueras: "I am circumstantially pro-independence". In addition to this, he claimed himself to be a man of peace.
"I have always campaigned and fought in the conviction that the construction of peace is the best possible tool, precisely, to build a community. I have done this in the private sphere, in the professional sphere, in the political sphere, and this is one of the reasons that led me to defend what I have defended and I still defend today."
Romeva took advantage of his intervention to highlight the "paradox" of him sitting on the bench of the accused while Vox is sitting on the stands as the popular accusation.
"When I say that I am a democrat, a republican and a pro-European, I say it because I hold on to a set of values above any temporary circumstance.
"And if you allow me to, I would like to point out a paradox: those of us who defend these important values today are sitting in the dock of the accused, while those who ostensibly threaten these values of the Europe of rights and freedoms sit on the podium instead, among the accusation parties."
The right to self-determination
The former minister stressed that the international treaties signed by Spain include the right of the people to decide their future, and stressed that Catalonia embarked upon this process after having "already tried everything else":
"Among the many assumptions that led to the right to self-determination being exercised in recent years, one stands out as especially significant: everything else has been tried before. The case at hand, Catalonia, is a clear example of doing things differently without any success, without any possibility of progress whatsoever."
Romeva stated that, whenever he attended an election, the program he defended included the right to self-determination. He explained that there have been 54 referendums of self-determination since 1991 all over the world, of which 26 have been made "without the consent of the parent state."
In his opinion, a referendum can be legally considered within the Spanish Constitution:
"The Spanish Constitution does not explicitly forbid exercising the right to self-determination in none of its articles. It is a matter of political will. This is the democratic principle as we see it, and we have not invented it. Some of your colleagues, the Supreme Court of Canada, have already used this principle in a sentence dated 1998, in relation to Quebec."
From federalist to pro-independence
The former minister explained how he turned from federalism to "getting on the ship of independence," following the ruling of the Catalan Statute, because he believes that "it actually broke the constitutional pact of 1978". Romeva described the 2010 Constitutional ruling as an "emotional breakdown":
"The accusations point to a story based on some facts, while overlooking the most important one, the core issue, which is how this sentence of the CC affected a lot of people in their most intimate emotions." If we do not get this right, it is impossible to understand why there are 72 deputies in the Parliament that defend independence today, when 5, 10 or 15 years ago they were just a really small group."
Romeva argued that he has always sought dialogue, but stressed in turn that "to reach agreements, we must speak." And he added that the dialogue must be undertaken in a political framework, and not in a judicial one.
"When we are faced with a situation of confrontation of legitimacy, the most sensible and democratic thing is to negotiate, but negotiations have to be conducted in the political sphere, not in a penal room. We ought to negotiate politically, among political actors, and find consensus and agreements between political actors."
"Demonstrating is not rising"
"Absolutely, no." The former minister answered in this way when his lawyer asked him if he ever accepted the use of violence or intimidation to achieve the ultimate objective of the right to self-determination.
"Absolutely not, never, we have never incited violence."
Romeva explained that he was in Madrid on September 20, and, therefore, he was did not attend the rally before the Departament d'Economia (Ministry of the Economy), but defended it as a form of peaceful protest:
"Demonstrating is not rising, in the same way that protesting is not a tumult, and thinking is not a crime, as far as I know."
He considered it "pernicious" to be accused of rebellion when "the only weapons" have been "those of the Guardia Civil":
"Never by violent methods, much less using weapons, I say this because it is the definition used to accuse us of rebellion and uprising. Now, the only weapons there were those held by the Guardia Civil. therefore, I think it is absolutely pernicious to pretend that there was an uprising when the facts show the exact opposite."
He also rejected the accusations of misuse of public funds of the department led by him and asked himself how they could sit on the bench for some conferences:
"Most of the accusations held against us, among which there is the misusing of public funds, have to do with conferences, with our participation in debates, presentations, such as the conference we made in the European Parliament.
"How can it be unlawful to hold a conference in the European Parliament?"
Call to participation on 1-O: "It was our obligation"
The former foreign minister also admitted that the Government called for participation in the referendum on October 1, stating it as being their duty, and that they were determined to respect the result, whatever it was:
"Of course, that was our obligation, to a free and obviously non-partisan mobilization (...) We not only appealed to participation, we also committed ourselves to respect the result, whatever it was."
Romeva stressed that he witnessed violence on October 1, but "never on the part of the citizens, always on the part of the State Security Forces and Corps", and described the police action as undemocratic:
"The behavior of that day does not fit in at all in the behavior of what we should understand as a democratic police in a democratic country."
The former minister of Foreign Affairs stated that the declaration of independence was useful to "reiterate" the need for political negotiation:
"A resolution was voted on the independence of Catalonia on the basis of the mandate emerged from the elections of September 27, 2015 and October 1, 2017. From here, we reiterate once again the need to start a negotiation process to try and channel this declaration, this political mandate."
Romeva ended the interrogation by asking the Supreme Court to "return the file" to the politicians, who "are responsible for solving the problem."
During the morning, the former president of the Presidency, Jordi Turull, was subjected to the questionings of both the prosecutor Javier Moreno and the State attorney Rosa María Seoane.
The longest interrogation was that of Moreno, who focused on the attempt to substantiate the accusations of disobedience and misuse of public funds, despite the fact that the main accusation is that of rebellion.