TC urges to open a criminal case against Catalan Parliament President
The Catalan Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell, may face criminal proceedings. The Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) has this Thursday upheld the complaint issued by the Spanish Government and has urged the Public Prosecutor’s Office to determine whether Forcadell committed a penal crime when disobeying the TC’s rulings and allowing the pro-independence roadmap vote last July. The resolution of the TC, approved by unanimity, asks to open criminal proceedings but does not contemplate the dismissal of Forcadell, a measure the TC could apply after a People’s Party (PP) reform in 2015 gave it the power to do so.
Barcelona (CNA).-The Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) has demanded that the Public Prosecutor’s Office open criminal proceedings against the Catalan Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell. In this way, the tribunal has arrived at a resolution on the complaint issued by the Spanish Government over the declaration adopted by the Catalan Parliament last July, which introduced a “democratic unilateral mechanism” to split from Spain. The magistrates, however, have not urged the dismissal of the public representative, despite having the power to do so after the People’s Party (PP) passed a reform in 2015. The Prosecutor’s Office will now have to determine whether Forcadell committed a penal crime and, if it considers this to be the case, will have to open criminal proceedings against her.
The decision of the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC), adopted by unanimity, now leaves the ball in the court of the Prosecutor’s Office, which will have to decide whether there is penal responsibility in Forcadell’s case.
The transfer of the case to the Prosecutor’s Office was one of the demands of the complaint issued by the Spanish Government. The words of the State Lawyer urged the judges to "deduce testimony" to the Prosecutor’s Office, that is, to urge the Prosecutor’s Office to open criminal proceedings against the President of the Catalan Parliament. In concrete terms, the Spanish executive called for the TC to “proceed to consider the witness of particulars in order to claim criminal liability against the Parliament’s President for disobeying the rulings of the TC, which all public servants are compelled to obey”.
According to legal sources, the judges have not triggered any of the new powers they have at their disposal since the reform of the Organic Law of the Constitutional Court by the PP, which allows them to suspend, fine or dismiss any public representatives who violate their sentences.
The Court is currently studying whether this reform is constitutional or infringes upon the principle of separation of powers, after the appeals filled by the Catalan and the Basque Governments. This decision could take between two and six months, according to the magistrates.
Charges for allowing the pro-independence roadmap to be put to vote
In July, Spain’s executive expressed his determination to urge the TC to apply an enforced sentence against Forcadell, for having disobeyed the TC’s rulings and allowing the pro-independence roadmap to be put to vote. The current Spanish Cabinet, also attempted to expressly ban the Parliament Bureau and the Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, from promoting any initiative in relation to the pro-independence process.
Back then, Forcadell assured that she was “not afraid” of the TC and insisted that she “acted according to the rules” and that she “couldn’t’ impede” the vote on the conclusions of the Committee for the Constitutive Process from taking place. The Parliament’s President lamented the attempts of the Spanish executive to “limit political debate” and “restrict the freedom of speech of the Parliament and its MPs”.