Why the Strasbourg decision is so relevant

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We analyze the impact of the arguments of the European Committee of Human Rights for Catalan nationalism         
Noticias (Layetania)
José A. Ruiz 29/05/2019 1671
Yesterday, the spokesperson of the Generalitat, Meritxell Budó, attended a press conference in which she gave explanations about the denial of the demand of the members of the Catalan Parliament on the alleged violation of their rights. She said "we accept the resolution of the Human Rights Committee" and added, defiantly, "We hope that the resolutions that have to come and are favorable to our cause will be accepted by the unionists..". But aside from the democratic anomaly of describing as "its cause" (of the government of Catalonia) what should only be the cause of the independence movement, the spokeswoman did not mention the true scope of the Strasbourg response. Because the response has been much worse for them than they could have expected.
What the demand to Strasbourg requested was a statement on whether the rights of parliamentarians had been violated by the suspension of the plenary session on October 9, 2017 in which Puigdemont planned to conclude the coup d'état initiated on September 6 of the same year with the approval of unconstitutional laws. Therefore, the answer that nationalism needed was "Yes, your rights have been violated, we condemn Spain", but they knew that another could come: "No. The request is rejected".
However, the latter would have occurred if the offended parliamentarians had made a brief demand, without frills and adjusted to the (their) facts. Instead they presented it with their usual adornments regarding the bases of democracy, the vote of the sovereign people of October 1, and so on. And, of course, that forced the Human Rights Court to also analyze the merits of these issues and decide on them.
And the position adopted, although it's logical and predictable, is a slap in the foundations of the argumentary of the independence movement and almost serves as a prologue to the judgments of the "procés" trial.
Because Strasbourg doesn't limit itself to ensuring that their rights have not been violated, but it unequivocally expresses the following facts:
On the claim for violation of rights
  • Interference with the applicants' right to freedom of assembly could reasonably be considered a "pressing social need".
  • The decision of the Parliament's Bureau to convene a plenary session violates the decisions taken by the Constitutional Court that pursue the objective of protecting the constitutional order.
  • The Court considers that the suspension of the plenary session had pursued, among other things, the legitimate objectives of "guaranteeing public safety", "preventing disorder" and "protecting the rights and freedoms of others".
  • By adopting a suspension order, therefore, the Constitutional Court had endeavored to ensure compliance with its own decisions. That suspension seems justified because, as the Court pointed out, the constitutional courts were empowered to take the necessary measures to guarantee compliance with their judgments.
  • The Court concluded that the interference in the plaintiffs' right to freedom of assembly ... was "necessary in a democratic society".
  • The Court agreed with the Constitutional Court that a political party could campaign for a change in the legislation or constitutional structures of the State, provided that it used legal means, but it's necessary to avoid situations in which parliamentarians representing a minority could not fulfill their duties.
About the referendum on October 1
  • On October 1, 2017 an unauthorized referendum was held to decide on the secession of Catalonia from Spanish territory.
  • The Court noted that for a case involving referendums to be within the scope of Article 3 of Protocol No. 1, the process in question had to be carried out under legal conditions to guarantee the free expression of popular opinion in the election of legislature.
  • The Court considered that these conditions had not been met in the present case. The plenary session of the Parliament had been convened in compliance with a law that had been suspended by the Constitutional Court and therefore has been temporarily inapplicable. Therefore, the decision taken by the Parliament's Bureau was due to a manifest lack of compliance with the decisions issued by the Constitutional Court aimed at protecting the constitutional order.
  • The European Court of Human Rights has unanimously declared that the request is inadmissible.
  • The decision is final. (In other words, unappealable).
This is the point. The Strasbourg court has not only declared that the rights of the parliamentarians were not violated that day, but it has deployed a whole argument that exposes the antidemocratic behavior of the independentist parliamentarians, an argument unanimously ratified by seven judges from different countries, and that Strasbourg will not contradict in its subsequent sentences, but will serve as the basis for many of them.

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