Esquerra Republicana members present their defence before Spain’s Court of Auditors

The defendants call for proceedings to be suspended and for dismissal of their cases

The members of Esquerra Republicana indicted before the Court of Auditors for acts regarding the 1st October 2017 referendum and the Catalan Generalitat government’s Foreign Action have filed their defence. Among the defendants are Esquerra leader and former Catalan VP, Oriol Junqueras, former Foreign Minister, Raül Romeva, former Labour Minister, Dolors Bassa, and other then senior officials of the Generalitat: Aleix Villatoro, Josep Ginesta, Jaume Mestre, Sergi Marcén, Erik Hauck, Marie Kapretz and Ewa Cylwik. The filling was in response to an amended complaint after the Public Prosecutor’s Office and anti-independence Sociedad Civil Catalana redrafted the indictments.

The defendants’ main claim is the violation of their fundamental right to an impartial judge. In their response to the indictment, they claim that the Court of Auditors is a court bereft of judges, and where the plaintiff also selects those who are to pass the ruling—the prosecution participates with a vote in the selection of members of the Court of Auditors. The defendants therefore request that the procedure be suspended and a question of constitutionality be raised before the Constitutional Court.

The second claim is that there be a preliminary ruling or an inhibitory conflict of jurisdiction raised before the 13th Court of Instruction in Barcelona. The defendants state that certain acts and defendants before the Court of Auditors coincide fully with the defendants and the acts being heard before courts 13 and 18 in Barcelona. This affects not only the determination of the perpetration of the acts, but also the amounts to be determined. For this reason, the defendants also consider it necessary to suspend the proceedings until the criminal cases have been tried.

Finally, the response to the indictment requests the complete dismissal of the lawsuits.

All told, and in the context of the “Prou repressió. Amnistia, justícia i reparació” (Enough repression. Amnesty, justice and reparation) campaign launched on Saturday in Sant Cugat near Barcelona, the members of Esquerra recall that economic persecution is just another method of the Spanish State’s relentless persecution of independence, and consider an amnesty essential as the best tool to overcome it.

Change of criteria by the Public Prosecutor

On the other hand, the members of Esquerra applaud the change of criteria by the Public Prosecutor, which has adopted a position in favour of accepting the Catalan Institute of Finance bond prompted by the Generalitat government. This means the €2 million plus bond deposited by Esquerra is to be returned. Esquerra hopes that the investigating judge hearing the case will confirm this in a few days.