Xavier Melero: "Mister Forn disobeyed the Constitutional Court"Forn's attorney has accused the Rajoy government of having used the National Police and the Guardia Civil with the "political aim" of discrediting 1-O
Josep Maria Camps
Xavier Melero, the attorney of former minister of the Interior Joaquim Forn, admitted that his client disobeyed the orders of the Constitutional Court.
Melero was the second of the defence counsels to intervene on Tuesday, in a sitting that was opened by Andreu Van den Eynde, the defence attorney of Oriol Junqueras and Raül Romeva.
Forn received an injunction from the Constitutional Court
The attorney admitted to the charge of contempt by Forn while displaying his definitive conclusions in the Catalan independence trial, and he said that he had done so despite only having received one of the 5 notifications that the Constitutional Court banned the 1-O referendum:
"It is true that mister Forn received a notification, an injunction from the Constitutional Court. And here, I must say that I surrender this trench, Mister Forn did indeed disobey the Constitutional Court. It pains me to say so, because this single injunction imposed a series of duties to abstain that I could argue mister Forn complied with."
Melero added that the former minister adopted decisions as a minister that facilitated the police deployment to comply with the interlocutory order from the High Court of Justice of Catalonia that demanded that the referendum be stopped.
He stated that, in spite of the fact that this ran contrary to public statements in favour of 1-O, Forn adopted these decisions "voluntarily":
"Your Honour, I would like to highlight these questions because mister Forn could have chosen not to do so. In other words, it is a provision of a voluntary and supererogatory nature, because mister Forn, faced with the injunctions from the Prosecution, was well aware of everything when he put what was available to him at its disposal."
The "aberrant" police operation by Rajoy and Zoido
Apart from that, Melero accused the Rajoy government of having designed an "aberrant" police operation with the intention of not complying with court orders.
In this argument, Melero assigned himself the merit of being the one defending the police officers in the trial, stating that "one does not defend the police by buttering it up", but rather by denouncing the political power that uses it fraudulently:
"The police must be defended by making it clear that the incompetence of its commanders and of political power in the design of a completely aberrant operation led them to a devilish situation in which fulfilling their duty may have led to the permanent tarnishing of their well-deserved public image in Catalonia that has suffered severely as a result."
"The police officers who acted correctly acted correctly, and there is nothing else to add. However, the police suffered from a severe organisational flaw which, I will attempt to demonstrate, was intentional and sought after, with all due modesty."
According to Melero, from "minute zero", which he establishes on 6 September, the Rajoy government decided to send police officers to Catalonia, not to prevent the referendum, as the High Court of Justice of Catalonia required, but to publicly discredit it.
"The appearance of coordination" with political aims
The attorney said that they did so with "an appearance of coordination" that was never intended to become real:
"From this first moment, they attempted to organise an appearance of coordination with the regional police, which they already deeply distrusted, an appearance of coordination with the aim of acting unilaterally and at the service of an intention that was not to comply with the orders of the State Attorney General or the order of 27 September."
According to his statement, during the trial the Secretary of State for Security of Rajoy and Zoido, José Antonio Nieto, admitted as much:
"The purpose was that which mister Nieto Ballesteros defined perfectly honestly. When questioned by this party: "Mister Nieto, scores of police officers are under investigation, citizens have been injured, no centres were closed and the vote was not prevented in any of them. What did you achieve with this intervention? What good did this do towards compliance with the legal order?"
"And Mister Nieto, honestly, and perhaps unwittingly, told the truth: "That had nothing to do with the court order. This responded to the political purpose that it should be clear that this was not a valid referendum."
"That is where the actions of law enforcement was sold out and compromised: in the political purpose of not allowing that to look like a valid referendum. I do not remember the exact words, but mister Nieto came to say that no-one should be able to say that that was a referendum."
"They came to carry out a unilateral intervention"
Melero stated that the testimonies of the National Police and Guardia Civil officers who testified during the trial proved that none of them knew they were supposed to coordinate with the Mossos.
The attorney concluded that this shows that "they came to carry out a unilateral intervention":
"The coordination system was a fraud. Nobody from the ministry wanted to coordinate with the local police. They came to carry out a unilateral intervention. That much is obvious. The officers knew nothing about the coordination or the contents of instruction 4, the last written document in these proceedings."
In view of all of the above, Melero stated that "no police force complied with court orders".
With regard to the Mossos, Melero stated that they never put themselves at the disposal of the pro-independence project, as the prosecutions have stated to reinforce the charge of rebellion:
"It is not the same to rebel by voting things in Parliament than by voting things in Parliament with a force of 17,000 armed men willing to act in service of the rebellion."
"I have displayed a certain interest throughout the trial to attempt to prove to this Court that there was no collusion between the Generalitat and the Mossos d'Esquadra beyond purely operational matters and he administrative courtesty that is to be expected, in any case, from the State administration."
The Generalitat "gave up power"
With regard to the declaration of independence the parties to the prosecution deem to have been carried out and valid, Melero has stated that the only thing that has been proven is that the Generalitat "gave up power":
"The Generalitat not only did not cut ties and retain power, it did all it could to abandon this power, to put it at the disposal of the State on 27 October without the least resistance. In other words, the only demonstrated, concluding actions that are documented in the official journals and record books pf the Parliament of Catalonia are acts in which power is abandoned."
In this regard, Melero stated that the Puigdemont government "lacked the capacity to impose any legal framework through force."
"Article 155 functioned perfectly"
Melero's argument continued by stating that, even though it may displease "certain circles", it can be said that article 155 "functioned perfectly":
"I know the term may displease certain circles, but there is no other way to define what happened there based on the records of Parliament and what we all know. That is, the constitutional mechanism to resolve a severe constitutional conflict worked perfectly. Article 155 functioned perfectly."
"Breaches" by the government
Forn's attorney was very hash when describing how article 155 was applied: According to him, the Generalitat "breached" commitments related to 1-O:
"The Generalitat government breached the proclamation of results, breached the proclamation of independence, and adapted and voted a resolution drafted by some individuals, members of parliament representing the people of Catalonia, in an unknown location."
"The colours were not struck, nothing was notified to the diplomatic corps, no developing decrees or laws were dictated, and everybody adapted to the application of article 155. I insist, I know this version of the events may displease some people. But that is what took place and what is on record."
Joaquim Forn's valediction
With regard to his client, Melero stated that he faced the application of article 155 two days prior to 27 October 2017:
"As documentary evidence accepted by this Court, and I know the Court takes it into account, I have provided a call by mister Forn from 25 October to all personnel in his department for an allocution that took place on 26 October at 1 PM.
"In this allocution, mister Forn said farewell and told the civil servants in his department: "Two things may take place tomorrow; either elections will be called by mister Puigdemont, or article 155 will be applied; there are no other options. Farewell, gentlemen; I am going home."
Tanks and machine guns during the "bloodless" 23-F
With regard to the comparison drawn by prosecutor Fidel Cadena between 1-O and 23-F in his conclusions, Melero reproached that he omitted that Tejero had tanks and machine guns.
Melero stated that, in his comparison, Cadena accepted the thesis of Tejero's defence:
"The prosecutor, mister Cadena, referred to 23 February, and said it was bloodless. Mister Cadena is right. Well, that was the defence of mister Tejero during the trial before the Supreme Court, and he was given the answer that was to be given to him: It was bloodless, you did not kill anybody. But you had armoured divisions and 200 men armed with machine guns in Parliament. Your capacity to coerce the State through violence was remarkable. That was what fell under the crime of rebellion."
Melero, who had one hour to state his conclusions, had said at the beginning that he had asked for more time from the defence counsels of Meritxell Borràs and Santi Vila, who gave him some of their time so he could reach nearly one hour and a half.
- Catalan independence trial