Esquerra Republicana clinches inclusion in the Amnesty Bill of cases cast as terrorism, securing greater legal certainty

Esquerra Republicana has transacted two amendments to the Amnesty Bill with Catalan center-right Junts and Spain’s governing PSOE party, which was today passed by the Justice Commission in the Congress of Deputies. The agreement reached regarding cases cast as terrorism, as per the proposal by Esquerra, is particularly satisfying.

The way out of the deadlock was the middle ground between Esquerra’s initial proposed amendment, which advocated the entire removal from the Amnesty Bill of exclusion of the cases cast as terrorism, and the current wording of the bill, which led to doubts regarding legal certainty. The solution agreed upon is to exclude from the Amnesty Bill only those cases classed as terrorism where there have been serious violations of human rights, in particular those provided in articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and under international humanitarian law. “It is clear that these violations did not occur in our country as part of the independence process; there was no terrorism, and therefore the cases regarding the Committees for the Defence of the Republic (CDR) and the Tsunami Democratic protests are clearly included within the scope of law enforcement,” assured Esquerra’s Deputy Secretary General for Rights, Freedoms and the Anti-Repressive Struggle, Marta Vilaret. “We have found a legally robust formula, and we are satisfied in this sense,” she added.

Likewise, Esquerra will maintain the amendment negotiated with Junts, and this would be their red-line proposal, removing the exclusion of terrorism entirely. “We will not close any doors until the last moment, in order to improve the result, but we applaud the solution agreed upon because we have made progress as regards the previous draft,” insisted Ms Vilaret. Esquerra will similarly maintain its amendments to remove the severity threshold established in the exclusion of torture and degrading treatment, and to establish that the Catalan Generalitat government may reimburse the fines applied under the Spanish gag law.

In the other amendment negotiated with both Junts and the PSOE, regarding article 4 of the law regulating the effects of the law on criminal liability, the groups have improved the wording and clarified concepts. The wording makes it clear that the mandatory suspension of proceedings in the event of a request for a preliminary ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) or on constitutionality shall not prevent the lifting of the current precautionary measures as required by the same law.

In this manner, Esquerra Republicana continues to secure legal certainty and expand the scope of the law in certain cases beyond the agreement already reached on eight amendments with the governing PSOE and Sumar, Catalan Junts, Basque EH-Bildu and Galician BNG parties in last week’s reading.