Spain's highest judicial body to vote on two opposing reports on amnesty bill

Conservative majority likely to declare draft law 'unconstitutional', although ruling is not binding

Meeting of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ)
Meeting of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) / Catalan News Agency
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Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

March 12, 2024 01:05 PM

March 12, 2024 01:07 PM

Spain's highest judicial body, the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), will discuss and vote on the report on the amnesty bill requested by the Spanish Senate on March 21. 

The judges will evaluate two proposals: one by the conservative Wenceslao Olea, who claims that the amnesty is "unconstitutional" and violates the separation of powers, and the other by the progressive Mar Cabrejas, who considers the amnesty "exceptional" but legal. 

It is expected that the CGPJ, with its conservative majority, will support Wenceslao Olea's stance. Although the report is not binding, it will strengthen the position of the People's Party (PP) in the Senate, where it holds a majority. 

The amnesty bill recently passed a crucial vote in the Justice Committee and is scheduled for a vote in Congress on Thursday, March 14, where it is highly likely to pass. The bill will then be sent to the Senate. 

Despite the PP's expected rejection of the amnesty bill in the Senate, it will return to Congress. There, the Socialist-led government, with the support of Catalan pro-independence parties, will be able to overcome the Senate opposition and secure the bill's approval.

Who will benefit from the bill?

Once approved, 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, disobedience, and even terrorism.  

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 would 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.