Amnesty law comes into force after publication in Spain's Official Gazette

Judges in Catalan independence cases have two months to decide whether to apply it

The amnesty law in Spain's Official Gazette
The amnesty law in Spain's Official Gazette / Catalan News Agency (ACN)
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

June 11, 2024 09:18 AM

June 11, 2024 01:35 PM

The amnesty law was published in Spain's Official Gazette (BOE) on Tuesday, officially coming into force.

This was the final administrative step needed to implement the law benefiting those involved in the Catalan pro-independence movement.

Now, the implementation of the law will be in the hands of the judges overseeing the affected cases, who have two months to decide whether to apply it.

However, it is expected that some judges will question its legality in European courts, potentially extending the process.

These procedures in European courts are part of a maneuver promoted by the Civic Platform for Judicial Independence, a group of judges opposed to the amnesty law.

The platform prepared a 126-page handbook to try to prevent the amnesty from coming into force and distributed it by email to all Spanish judges.

However, the judges that decide not to raise preliminary rulings in European courts and apply it, they can order the immediate lifting of the precautionary measures against the accused, as well as the termination of international and national arrest warrants.

Who will benefit from the bill?

The amnesty law will benefit all those involved in the independence movement, pardoning individuals who have been investigated, accused or charged with a wide range of crimes, including embezzlement and disobedience.  

It will also cover those sentenced in 2019 for their roles in organizing the referendum, such as exiled former president Carles Puigdemont and his former vice president Oriol Junqueras. 

The original amnesty proposal covered those prosecuted from January 2012 to November 2023, but the revised version extends this period back to November 2011.

Estimates of the number of beneficiaries under the law vary widely. Based on the first draft, the pro-independence civil society organization Òmnium estimated that around 1,500 people were to benefit, while the Socialists estimated the number to be around 300. 

Currently, the exact number of beneficiaries under the current text remains uncertain, but Junts claims that the revised version will extend its benefits to an additional 150 to 200 people compared to the original proposal.