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22 de març 2018

Krystyna Schreiber: Europa in der Pflicht

Traduccions de l'article "Europa in der Pflicht" escrita per Krystyna Schreiber.

1. Català

Un grup de reconeguts jutges i juristes internacionals determina que les accions del govern espanyol contra l’independentisme català són il·legals


2. Espanyol

Juristas internacionales determinan la ilegalidad de las acciones del Gobierno español contra el independentismo


3. Gallec 

Un equipo de xuristas internacionais determina que as accións do Goberno español contra o movemento independentista catalán son ilegais.

4. English


Vegeu / Ver / See 
"Catalonian human rights review. Judicial controls in the context of the 1 October referendum".
Jean-Paul Costa
Françoise Tulkens
Wolfgang Kaleck
Jessica Simor QC
19 December 2017
PDF: https://www.esquerra.cat/arxius/sectorials/informe_2018-3-5_judicial_controls_1O_ER.pdf

21 de març 2018


My English translation of two disturbing articles by Jordi Domingo i Garcia-Milà on the decay in Spanish institutions


Is someone prevaricating*? (1st part)

By Jordi Domingo i Garcia-Milà

Allow me to start by saying that an unfair court ruling does not always imply the existence of a prevarication offence. Far from it. A judge, or court, can dictate an unfair resolution without prevaricating at all. Mistakes do happen and an incorrect appreciation of facts or evidence can unquestionably mislead the person that has to make a decision.

A separate issue is the intentional error (which is no longer an error by definition) for spurious purposes of whatever nature: economic, political, professional, ideological or of any other sort.When does a judge or magistrate really prevaricate? To find out we need to go to the Penal Code and verify that he or she would be doing so: (i) when knowingly issuing an unfair verdict or ruling; or (ii) when by gross negligence or inexcusable ignorance he or she issues a verdict or ruling that is manifestly unfair.

All this comes to light because of the judicial front of the so-called "Catalan process", taking into account a myriad of circumstances that have been surfacing in the media and court rulings that have been issued. Very especially, those relating to the preventive detention without bail of the Vice President of the Government of the Generalitat, Sr. Oriol Junqueras; of its Minister of the Interior Sr. Joaquim Forn; of the chair of the ANC Sr. Jordi Sánchez and the chair of Omnium Cultural Sr. Jordi Cuixart.

Right now we can now assert that all that is taught in Spain's schools of law, especially in regard to constitutional law, criminal law and procedural rules, must be put in utter abeyance. If it were not for the seriousness of the subject, we could tell endless jokes on the problems professors, lecturers and students will have in the next round of examinations to discern what the right answers are to key qüestions of legal certainty, the rules of competence or the typification of certain offences, given the evident divorce between what one can read in the doctrinal treatises and what judges and courts end up deciding whenever the "Catalan process" is involved.

What must never be accepted in a democracy is a sudden and flagrant divorce appearing between legal texts and the courts' interpretation of them at the behest of the executive branch or in response to its urgent needs. Opening that door leads, inescapably, to entering murky paths that flout the separation of powers, damage the rule of law, violate democracy, invite authoritarianism and inevitably rumble towards dictatorship. It is this serious and regrettable.

It is true that coincidences do happen and that roulette can hit the same number once, twice or thrice. But to hit the same number and colour all night should alarm any minimally intelligent person. When, in judicial and legal terms, coincidences always harm the same people, it is legitimate to wonder if something is not working properly. Let's look into this step by step.

For National High Court judge Sra. Lamela, to admit chief prosecutor Sr. Maza's indictment, on grounds of rebellion and sedition, in the first place, when the National High Court had been specifically declared incompetent to judge that kind of offence, is - at the very least - disturbing.

For it to be based on the text of the past dictatorship's Criminal Code is surprising.

For the investigating judge of the Supreme Court - Judge Sr. Llarena - to also admit his competence when, given the persons allegedly involved in the events and the place where these allegedly took place, that jurisdiction should correspond to the High Court of Justice of Catalonia, raises the eyebrows of specialists in the field of criminal law.

For the presentation of the aforementioned indictment, its correlative admission, the summons for questioning of the persons involved and the first imprisonments, to occur in less than 72 hours (including the 24 hours of the November 1 public holiday) scandalizes any jurist for the possible violation of the fundamental right to defence.

On October 1, the date of the Catalan referendum, for the Spanish police bodies to fail to comply with the principles of proportionality, congruence and appropriateness that were applicable to their actions, despite the express mandate of the High Court of Justice of Catalonia judge, Sra. Armas, to avoid at all costs the disturbance of social peace, should be of concern to every democratic citizen.

For an investigation of a "general" nature (that is, not limited to the offences reported) to be opened on his own account by the judge of Barcelona's Court of Investigation No. 13, Sr. Suñer, in response to a complaint filed in January 2017 against a judge (and former senator), Sr. Santiago Vidal, for an alleged cyberoffence and disclosure of secrets is, to put it mildly, tremendously striking.

It is as striking as the fact that the Judge himself, close to his retirement in March 2017, suggested extending his employment status for two years, with the approval of the General Council of the Judiciary, after having added - to the previous case - the suit filed by VOX against Sr. Vidal and two other people linked to the Catalan administration.

And then, the fact that Sr. Suñer himself indicated, in a written injunction, that his investigation was in no way aimed at discerning any issue related to the October 1 referendum, and that, in the meantime, the Civil Guard were conducting all sorts of proceedings (including arrests) indeed related to the said referendum, allegedly covered by the aforementioned proceedings opened in that very Court and without any express warrant (or so it seems) to do so, makes it logical for every kind of suspicion to be aroused.

Suspicions are further aroused by the fact that after lifting the "sub judice" status, after an unusually long period of time, about thirty people turn out to be investigated, on top of the initial three, when the number of alleged crimes, or of investigated persons, cannot be expanded during a sub judice period.

Meanwhile, the fact that almost seven months after filing a lawsuit against the Civil Guard Police for alleged crimes of forging of documents and usurping functions, the Court has not yet admitted the case also seems - to put it mildly - surprising.

Is all this a coincidence? Let's admit that it's hard to accept. Someone will have to reach a conclusion on it. Many - including Supreme Court - judges have told me, in chats over coffee, that they have never received a call to influence them in the resolution of a case. I believe them. I know that there are countless judges and magistrates in Spain who maintain, as they should be, their absolute independence from the executive power. Havind said that I believe there may be others who do not need any call. It is enough for them for their professional, promotional or political objectives to be clear in their minds... or to suffer for the terrible fear of losing what they have.

I shall not - for the time being - tire you any more. Legal and judicial issues tend to be cumbersome. I leave for the second part of this article the pitiful issue of preventive imprisonment and other aspects as surprising as they are hard to explain from penal and constitutional standpoints. We shall also try, of course, to answer the question in the title. Suffice it to say, - and I am sure you will agree - that things do not seem to be on the right track.


Is someone prevaricating*? (2nd part)

By Jordi Domingo i Garcia-Milà

Things are most definitely not going well. They are going very badly.

The distortion of justice, of the division of powers, of the rule of law and, ultimately, of democracy is grave and the existence of prevarication seems more than evident.

Neither does the monarch fulfil his constitutional role, nor does the government respect the division of powers, nor do the courts seem to have any interest in protecting their independence.

For, let's face it, everyone believes that if they go to a demonstration they are protected by the freedom of expression and the right of assembly and association. Well, that's not the case if they do that in Catalonia. Even when they do so peacefully, they may be automatically accused of sedition (or worse, rebellion).

They likewise consider that "in their head" the only bosses are you. And that, whatever they think, their ideological freedom are guaranteed. Nope! If they commit the audacity of "thinking", for example, of a republic, they will also find someone who will accuse them of being ideologically opposed to the regime and will therefore keep them in preventive detention, without the legal requirements to do so being met.

We all consider that violence is something very serious that is exercised through the use of physical force (even with weapons) to dominate someone or to impose something against their will, at a specific moment in time.

This has ceased to be obvious in Catalonia. Indeed, here "it has been decided" that violence can be mental and even "tendential", if we stick to what the judge Mr. Llarena says in some of his injunctions.

All of those that work in the world of law know perfectly well that without "violence" there can be no rebellion and, as in reality there has never been violence in the so-called "Catalan process" (except when it was exercised by the state security forces on October 1), it has to be "found", in the full awareness that it is artificially invented, through interpretations that are ridiculous and that denigrate those that think them up and verbalize them.

We aspire to the courts treating us just like any other citizen, of whatever rank, economic resources or social or political influence, regardless of whether our name is Rodriguez, Fernández, Urdangarín, Millet or "M.Rajoy". In this aspect, comment is superfluous.

Similarly, we all more or less believe we have the right to a fair trial and that, consequently, we will be assigned a judge (as laid down in the law); that nobody will change the rules "in the middle of the game"; and that - of course - nobody is going to invent facts or crimes to simply harm or intimidate us. Well: regrettable as it may be, these principles have been openly violated in the so-called Catalan case. Just review the court injunctions, and you can verify this with your own eyes.

The prevarication scenario seems perfectely deliberate

But what is happening to public suffrage, as an expression of the right to political participation?

Very straightforward. They are literally hacking it away. The Spanish government is doing, with the inestimable help of the courts, all it can - and cannot - to avoid the will expressed in the polls by the majority of citizens of Catalonia becoming a reality. And that is prevaricating.

If citizens legally exercise their vote and give their support to options that legally and legitimately stand for election, with what right can the current government or the Courts exercise the power to prevent, at all costs, these people from exercising their right of political participation?

What has happened in Catalonia? You will remember perfectly that, since last October, various ministers challenged President Puigdemont to stand for the 21 December election. Government spokesman Mr. Méndez de Vigo publicly stated that the executive would "welcome" the participation of the dismissed President. He literally added:
    "Puigdemont and all political leaders can participate in the election because they have their right. It would be good because it is a way for Catalans to judge and comment on the policies that Sr. Puigdemont has carried out in the last year."
Well, the elections were held and the pro-independence parties won a parliamentary majority.

But this result is being blocked by the illegitimate action of the Spanish government, in collaboration with supporters of article 155 measures and the courts, despite the fact that none of the elected politicians had, or have, their political participation rights impaired.

What happened behind the scenes last January 25 and 26 so that, on Saturday 27, the Constitutional Court (CC) drafted the operative part of several more than "surprising" precautionary measures related to the convocation of the investiture debate in the Parlament de Catalunya?

Let us recall that the Council of State had informed the government (on January 25) that there was no basis for it to support a constitutional appeal against the call for the investiture session of President Mr. Puigdemont, convened for Tuesday January 30th.

Even so, the government filed an unconstitutionality appeal before the TC.

What comes, in such cases, is that the TC admits -or not- the appeal and decides on the suspension of the challenged rule or resolution.

However, what the TC did, with the speed and urgency that characterizes it when it comes to the "Catalan case", was to give an unprecedented period of ten days to the parties to State their cases before deciding on the admission of the appeal and, until it decides, it also invented some "precautionary measures" that nobody had requested and whose content is absolutely grotesque from a legal point of view.

To start with, it unlawfully took over the interpretive function that legally corresponds only to the Bureau of the Parlament, to interpret the House Rules. Then it decided, on its own risk and without any legal basis, that the debate and the vote of investiture of the candidate could not be held by telematic means, or by substitution of another MP.

But there is more to it: in a triple somersault without a net, the figure of a judge is introduced to interfere directly in the golden rule of democracy: the link between the citizenry's free and democratic vote and the parliamentary representation that derives from such a vote.

For this purpose, he launched what I consider to be a true torpedo below the waterline of any democracy and, in his eagerness to satisfy the needs of the executive, it determined that the candidate could not be invested "without the relevant court authorization" - even if he appears personally in the Chamber - if a court search and imprisonment warrant is in force.

The folly is huge.

Does the fact that the Spanish government publicly acknowledged their calls to the TC not raise your eyebrows? Are not you alarmed that it accommodates its schedules to the needs and urgency imposed by the executive? Does it not cause you discomfort when the media close to to the regime announce what the National High Court or the examining magistrate of the Supreme Court will do, or will not doing, even before the suspects have made their statements?

Does the Minister of Justice, for example, not make you react by announcing court resolutions or calendars, without them having yet spoken? Does it not make you blush when certain judges draft decisions clashing with their own doctrinal sentences, only to keep the government happy in its fight against the "Catalan process"? It does me.

So all that I have said makes it clear that there is no separation of powers in Spain. And if there is no separation of powers, there is no rule of law. And if there is no rule of law, there is no true democracy.

On the other hand, what does exist is a perfect breeding ground for prevarication. Misguided ambitions to prosper politically or professionally; the misunderstood fidelity; servility; the desire to please superiors; the panic of losing what one has; downright fear; the loss of outlook; mediocrity; veiled threats..; all these are factors that help the government to systematically block the independence of the courts at certain levels.

For all of this has happened and is still happening. The State, and its government, have a political problem in Catalonia and, instead of resolving it politically and democratically, they have jointly and severally instituted the "Go get 'em" mantra. And, to be sure, everything fits into that mantra . And some of those who are in the top echelons of the courts and institutions have put themselves at the service of those in government, both to "fine-tune" whatever is necessary (Minister Fernández Díaz dixit) and to adapt decisions to the political needs of the government. And that has a name: prevarication. And yes, someone is prevaricating.

* "Prevarication" is an offence committed when an authority, judge / lawyer or public official issues an arbitrary resolution in an administrative or court affair, in the knowledge that this resolution is unfair, and therefore violates the duties of the public servant.
Such acts are displays of abuse of authority.

20 de març 2018

Article by Jordi Domingo

Translation by M. Strubell with author's permission


Is it that hard?

By Jordi Domingo i Garcia-Milà

March 20 2018

February 7 2018. Madrid, Congress. Government control session. The deputy prime minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, takes the floor to respond to a question asked by the Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) MP, Joan Tardá. In this context, she launches a diatribe addressed to the MP but which, in reality, is aimed against a large part of the citizens of Catalonia. Her zero empathy becomes evident once again. Her facial, gestural and verbal expression is sour and arrogant. The intimidating tone she uses tries to intimidate all Catalans. At the very least, those who - in her opinion - had the nerve or audacity to insist on a clearly majority vote in favour of the parties that advocate the Catalan Republic, on December 21.

The climax, in the form of a question, is already well known to all: "Is it that hard to sacrifice a Catalan?".

In order to justify this "ingenious" phrase, the deputy prime minister suggests - in her speech - that if the Catalans "have sacrificed" our companies; our public services and our freedom, we should also be willing to "sacrifice a Catalan". And she ends with a sentence that no matter how many times I say it, and however loudly I do it, I doubt there is anyone in Spain with the slightest varnish of intelligence that today can claim is true. Namely: "Nobody is above democracy and the judges."

I will not go into how much we Catalans "have sacrificed" or about what "we are willing to sacrifice." Nothing I could say would support what the deputy prime minister is trying to sell us as true. Nor am I going to go into the enormous efforts by the Spanish government, the parties supporting the article 155 measures and even the royal family, to undermine the economy, infrastructures and freedoms in Catalonia for years to come. The media archives speak for themselves.

"Nobody is above democracy and the judges." The sentence is amusing. phrase is funny. But, as far as Spain is concerned, it has long since ceased to make sense (if it ever did) given the accumulated actions of the royal family; the government; the parties that support it (including the 155 bloc); the Constitutional Court; the National Court; the Supreme Court; the Public Prosecutor's Office and the security forces in general, in recent times.

The Spanish regime is rotting by leaps and bounds. Corruption has been our daily bread for years. Governments have cheated us all mercilessly. The pension fund has been used up and has reached the brink of absolute bankruptcy. They have had no scruples to cope with the crisis of the financial system, without the banks and credit institutions (unlike what has happened in other countries) having had to pay back what society had given them.

With the money of us all they have built useless pharaonic infrastructures; they have rescued loss-making toll highways and have paid unprecedented compensations for fiascos such as the Castor project, but - take note - there is no more money for pensions or for social policies. We have seen how the revolving doors have engulfed a host of political figures, whom one no longer has enough adjectives to describe. Poverty and misery have spread and grown in Spain. Legislation has been enacted with the sole purpose of cutting back rights and freedoms (just think of the gag law, for the sake of example).

They have publicly boasted of having prosecutors "to refine" whatever is needed, and of having "liquidated" the health system in Catalonia. They have also boasted of "decapitating" leaders and democratically elected leaders.

The Constitutional Court has become a mere puppet of the executive. Similarly, the National Court and the Supreme Court have been dragged for alleged "reasons of state" to proceedings, interpretations and agendas that have nothing to do with the normal functioning of the courts in a democracy.

The fact that more and more associations of judges and magistrates are calling for the independence of the courts, is just a full confirmation of what I am saying.

The list of grievances and intrinsic injustice of those who have governed in Spain is endless. The use that has been made in Catalonia of art. 155, for its content and scope, would make any good faith constitutionalist or democrat blush.

Ms. deputy prime minister, let me borrow your already famous sentence with some small changes. Is it that hard to sacrifice private interests to the common interest? Is it that hard to guarantee the independence of the courts? Is it that hard to respect the rule of law? Is it that hard to try to solve political problems through dialogue and negotiation, instead of judicializing them? Is it that hard to accept differences? Is it that hard to respect those who do not think like you? Is it that hard to be a Democrat?

All of this is clearly too hard for you. Someone is going to sacrifice you.

See two other articles by Jordi Domingo here:

18 de març 2018

Catalonian human rights review. Judicial controls in the context of the 1 October Referendum

"Catalonian human rights review. Judicial controls in the context of the 1 October Referendum"

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Jean-Paul Costa
Françoise Tulkens
Wolfgang Kaleck
Jessica Simor QC

19 December 2017

47 pp.

Presented in Brussels on 1 February 2018.

PDF: https://www.elnacional.cat/uploads/s1/38/83/74/3/final-opinion.pdf

10 de març 2018

Pérez Royo : Catalonia and the courts

Catalonia and the courts

Four articles by Professor Javier PÉREZ-ROYO, full professor of Constitutional Law, University of Seville.

The translations into English are mine.

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El 1944 el Consell Nacional de Catalunya, a Londres, va publicar una "Declaració" que té un valor més que històric. 
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4 de març 2018

TEXTS : Col.lectiu Praga

Diferents denúncies sobre la causa catalana es van prestant davant instàncies internacionals.  La llista la va fent el Col·lectiu Praga, de juristes.

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2 de març 2018

Puigdemont versus Spain (UNHRC)

Here is a link to the PUIGDEMONT -v- SPAIN case lodged yesterday March 1 2018 before the United Nations Human Rights Committee

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19 de febr. 2018

TEXT: Instructions by Judge Llarena, January 9 2018

Traducció no oficial, feta per M. McNaught i M. Strubell. Original: https://issuu.com/joseprexachfumanya/docs/providencia_citaciones_y_diligencia

Supreme Court. – Second Chamber

APPEAL: 003 / 0020907 / 2017

ISSUED BY INSTRUCTING JUDGE His Excellency, Sr. Don Pablo Llarena Conde

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18 de febr. 2018

TEXT: Catalonia's legimitate right to decide



NICOLAS LEVRAT, Professor at the University of Geneva, coordinator of the Report 
SANDRINA ANTUNES, Professor at the Universidade do Minho
GUILLAUME TUSSEAU, Professor at Sciences Po, Paris
PAUL WILLIAMS, Professor at American University in Washington, DC


Full report 162 pp.

Executive summary (20 pp.)

The academic paper on The Legitimacy of Catalonia’s Exercise of its Right to Selfdetermination discusses the legitimacy of the Government of Catalonia’s current efforts to let the Catalan people exercise their Right to Decide on their political destiny. These efforts build upon Catalonia’s previous attempts to consolidate representative governance for Catalan citizens within and conjointly with the Spanish democratic state. Four internationally recognized experts were invited by the Government of Catalonia to examine the controversy generated by the call for a self-determination referendum. This has been convened in the face of the opposition of the Spanish authorities which contest its legality, unlike the recent examples of the trend towards the recognition of self-determination, of which the most salient is that of Scotland’s referendum on independence. The experts have analyzed the dispute and the arguments at several levels of discourse, simultaneously debating the respective relevance of the different legal corpora in which the applicable rules are to be found and implemented, and on the substance of the rights to be respected or fostered.


As a result of their research and reflections, the authors come to the following conclusions and recommendations on the Right to Decide and the Catalan Government’s call for an independence referendum in October the 1st:

1. The evolution of the negotiating process between the Catalan and Spanish governments since the re-establishment of democracy in 1977 through time has allowed us to identify key moments of a deteriorating political relationship where the Spanish government has gradually renounced the accommodation of Catalan territorial demands. The evolution of this relationship sheds a new light on the tortuous path towards the legally binding referendum on political independence to be held on the 1st October 2017.

2. The upsurge in territorial demands towards political independence was put on the political agenda by organized Catalan civil society immediately after the passing of the Constitutional Tribunal ruling in 2010. Additionally, there has been a clear shift in popular territorial preferences, moving from preferences asking for the maintenance of the current “status quo” to demands of “political independence,” irrespective of people’s age.

3. Catalan popular demand for a referendum on political independence has been largely justified by the democratic “Right to Decide”, which has evolved from the more traditional and long-standing legal framework to the “national right to self-determination”. In other words, demands for political independence have been legitimized by a democratic principle invested in the Catalan people, reinforced by the repeated denial to accommodate Catalonia’s demands by the Spanish government.

4. From an international law perspective, it appears clearly that there is no international legal prohibition barring a sub-state entity from deciding its political destiny by assessing the will of its people. Both case law and state practice support this conclusion. State practice demonstrates that numerous geographically diverse sub-state entities have expressed the will of their people regarding independence. The practice occurs both with and without the consent of the national state. Many sub-state entities have achieved independence after assessing the political will of their people. EU member states have recognized many former sub-state entities that assessed their people’s political will and decided to pursue independence.

5. As regards European Law, in the absence of specific Treaty provision on the right of Self-determination for a European people without a State in the territory of the EU, EU law does not forbid the exercise of its Right to Decide for a European people within the EU. There are even numerous Treaty provisions that indicate that if such Right were to be exercised, EU and its member States would react positively to a new European State candidacy to join the EU. Recent and consistent practice clearly points that way. Further, both as a collectively exercised human right and as a fundamental norm of international Law, EU recognizes the Right to Decide.

6. As regard the constitutionality of the claim for the Right to Decide, it is necessary from an empirical viewpoint, and fruitful from a normative one, to give up the quest for a supreme constitutional interpreter. What is crucial in a constitutional state that is faithful to the ambitions of constitutionalism is the ongoing dialogue about, and engagement with, constitutional values and principles. Only this will make the constitution a living document, infused by the competing interpretations of values and principles that, by their very nature, admit various readings and conceptions. The quest for the final word is useless, illusory and possibly lethal from the political viewpoint of a healthy deliberative community.

7. In that respect, the debate is much more open than what one might think at first sight by examining too rapidly the basic features of contemporary constitutionalism, especially as it is illustrated by the Spanish constitutional system. Far from being disruptive of the constitutional project that was adopted in 1978, the Catalan claim to the Right to Decide on its political future precisely testifies to a genuine commitment to the ongoing constitutional dialogue that is legitimate in an open society. That is why simply dismissing this claim as “unconstitutional” cannot be an attitude that lives up to the high standard of political morality that is imposed by the ideal of constitutionalism.

8. Democratic legitimacy at Catalan and Spanish levels may both be legitimate, even though the principle of external preference limits the capacity of Spain to permanently oppose the democratic choice of Catalonia. However, when conflicting political legitimacies compete, there is a duty for democratic authorities to negotiate. This is confirmed by the observation of international practice that in almost all instances, the sub-state entity and national state negotiate the contours of the assessment of political will.

9. Further, in a genuine liberal democracy, rule of law may not trump democratic legitimacy, nor the other way around; therefore, in a modern democratic State, rule of law and democratic legitimacy need to be reconciled and cannot in the long term remain opposed. In the context of a vote of self-determination, as is the case, the national
framework will inevitably be inappropriate because the existing democratic processes to address the issue did not allow for a solution or a process to emerge. A change of scale thus appears necessary by justifying either locally or internationally (or both) the organization of a referendum. If Spanish national Authorities deny the right to Catalonia to negotiate its Right to Decide within the Spanish political framework, then the only path left for
Catalonia’s Authorities is the call for a self-determination referendum.

10. Thus, whatever the conflicting claims of legitimacy put forward by the political actors, international practice and transconstitutional jurisprudence show that successful selfdetermination processes always rely at some point on a negotiation procedure. In that perspective, the experts recommend the exploration of an earned sovereignty negotiating process within the framework of the EU. This would imply involvement by EU institutions; we consider it possible in the perspective of a negotiation within the EU, fully implying Spain in seeking for Catalonia a constrained sovereignty solution, as a full member of the EU.


26 de gen. 2018



The application of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution since 27 and 28th October 2017

Prof. Dr. Axel Schönberger *

January 11, 2018
Since October 2017, German media have been reporting on the events in Spain mostly as if the Spanish government has the right to proceed in the same way as it has done so far. A spokesman for the federal government even stated that the Spanish government was clearly violating human rights by saying that Spain had tough laws. And again and again it was to be read in the German press that the article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, on which the Spanish government is based, is indeed in accordance with the German Basic Law and that the Spanish procedure is appropriate and justified according to German legal standards.
Article 37 of the German Basic Law
First, therefore, take a look at the Basic Law. Article 37 of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany reads as follows:
"Art. 37
(1) If a Land does not fulfill its obligations under the Basic Law or any other federal law, the Federal Government may, with the consent of the Bundesrat, take the necessary measures to encourage the country to fulfill its obligations by way of federal compulsion.
(2) The Federal Government or its representative has the right to give instructions to all countries and their authorities in order to carry out the federal obligation. "
This article was the model for the corresponding Article 155 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Spain of 1978:
"Art. 155
(1) If an Autonomous Community fails to fulfill its obligations under the Constitution or other laws or acts in such a way that its conduct is a grave violation of the general interests of Spain, the Government may, upon prior request to the President of the Autonomous Community and in the event of non-compliance with the approval of the absolute majority of the Senate, take the necessary measures to encourage the Autonomous Community to compulsorily fulfill these obligations or to protect the public interest in question.
2. In order to implement the measures provided for in paragraph 1, the Government may issue instructions to all the authorities of the Autonomous Communities. "
Scope of Article 37 of the German Basic Law
It is therefore appropriate to first consider the scope of the German model closely:
In the Federal Republic of Germany, this Basic Law article had never been used before. In this respect, so far only theoretical considerations on a hypothetical application of federal compulsion are possible in Germany.
When a German state his - for example, budgetary - partout did not fulfill obligations to the federal government over, came as a last resort the Federal forced to Article 37 of the Basic Law in question.. For example, in the case of serious budgetary violations of a German federal state against federal compulsion by the federal government - after exhausting all other possible steps including a corresponding lawsuit before the Federal Constitutional Court - by the Federal Government with the consent of the Bundesrat a "Sparkommissar" with the corresponding right of instruction for the State concerned.
The Federal Government and its agents such as such a "Sparkommissar" would have in such a case, a far-reaching authority to the respective federal state and its authorities, but only to the extent that it serves to enforce the injured federal obligation.
In addition to the issuing of instructions and the use of one or more Federal Commissioners, the following Federal measures would be possible under German law, but should only be used if they were absolutely necessary in order to remedy the violation of federal obligation:
  • a suspension of the constitutional organs of the state concerned - with the exception of the case law - and subsequent fiduciary takeover of state power by the federal government,
  • Use of state police forces on the instructions of the Federation,
  • appropriate financial and economic measures aimed at remedying the Bundesland's violation of federal obligation,
  • temporary suspension of the fulfillment of federal obligations to the state concerned, insofar as this is expedient in order to remedy the violation of federal obligation by the federal state,
  • Prohibition orders against the federal state in question,
  • Substitute actions if the federal state in question fails to act to which it is obliged by federal obligation.
What Article 37 of the Basic Law does not allow
By contrast, Article 37 GG 3 does not permit:
  • to relieve a state government of office,
  • to dissolve a parliament,
  • to dissolve a federal state,
  • to reduce or enlarge the territory of a federal state by border changes,
  • to deploy the Bundeswehr in the state concerned,
  • to use the Federal Police in the state concerned,
  • Police forces of other states in the state in question.
Not in accordance with Article 37 of the Basic Law, but only if the requirements of Article 91 of the Basic Law are met, the Confederation may also use the Federal Police or police forces of other Länder in one federal state. This is possible to avert an imminent threat to the existence or the free democratic basic order of the Federation or a country.
Importance of international law for self-determination in German national law
When the Basic Law was passed, United Nations international law was not yet as developed as it is now. According to the wording of the Basic Law, the decision of a Land parliament on the departure of a federal state from the federal government would be unconstitutional and could constitute a condition for the application of federal compulsion.
Since the Federal Republic of Germany, however, the two Covenants on Human Rights of the United Nations - the "International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights" (ICCPR / ICCPR ) and the "International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights" (ICESCR / ICESCR -) has submitted , These were part of the German legal system and as a higher-ranking law on any conflicting articles of the Basic Law, the federal government should not, for example, deny the people of the Sorbs, seek his independence from the Federal Republic of Germany.
And the federal government should not deny the Sorbs, following the successful holding of a referendum based on the right of peoples to self-determination, of the fundamental human right, from which many other human rights are derived, to proclaim an independent Sorbian republic.
If such an approach was non-violent - the pursuit of independence of a part of the German territory under force would realize the offense of high treason -, the German state in this regard neither Article 37 GG apply nor their human right to self-determination, citing them Internationally guaranteed, indefensible "Right to Decide" claiming Sorbs for their pursuit of independence and the proclamation of a Republic of Sorbia prosecuted.
The right to self-determination is a right of the peoples. Therefore, according to the current status of international law, it is not the citizens of individual German federal states such as Bavaria or Hesse, but only peoples such as the Sorbs, Kurds, Tamils ​​or Catalans.
It is an indestructible, universally valid human right, which must not be modified, suspended or denied in any way by the Constitutions of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Kingdom of Spain, which have submitted to and ratified the two United Nations Human Rights Pacts.
If, for example, the Hessian state parliament decrees the independence of Hesse from the Federal Republic of Germany, the federal government would be entitled, in accordance with Article 37 of the Basic Law, to exercise such a federal obligation on Hesse that this independence would not be realized.
If, on the other hand, the people of the Sorbs wanted a majority separation from Germany and the establishment of their own state, the application of Article 37 GG would be unlawful, since in this case the mandatory law of the two human rights pacts would apply is beyond the claim of the Basic Law, the undivided German territory.
The objection that the people of the Sorbs, after centuries of assimilation to the German population, would now be too small to realize their right of self-determination in their own state, would be in violation of human rights. The right to decide whether the Sorbs want to realize their right of self-determination with any kind of autonomy within the Federal Republic of Germany or in the form of their own state lies fundamentally only with them and with no one else.
The German majority population is likely to make the Sorbs in this regard no rules. And a Republic of Sorbia would at least have more inhabitants than Monaco, but that would not matter. The decisive factor is that only the respective affected people exercise the right to self-determination because it is their very own human right.
Scope of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution
In Spain too, in the event of a breach of the duties of an autonomous community vis-à-vis the central state, the Madrid central government would be entitled in principle under Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution to:
  • give instructions to the Autonomous Community concerned to remedy the breach by the Autonomous Community of its duty to the central State;
  • appoint a representative or representative to give instructions to the authorities of the Autonomous Community concerned;
  • To impose a suspension of the constitutional organs of the Autonomous Community concerned, with the exception of the case-law, and subsequently to assume, in a fiduciary capacity, jurisdiction in the Autonomous Community,
  • To use police forces of the Autonomous Community on their orders,
  • the ability to take appropriate financial and economic measures to remedy the breach by the Autonomous Community of its duty to the central State,
  • temporarily suspend the fulfillment by the central State of its obligations to the Autonomous Community concerned, to the extent that it is expedient to remedy the infringement by the Autonomous Community of its duty to the central State,
  • To issue prohibition orders against the Autonomous Community concerned;
  • Make substitute acts if the Autonomous Community concerned fails to act in respect of which it is required by law because of its duty to the central government.
What the article 155 of the Spanish Constitution does not allow
By contrast, Article 155 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Spain of
  • to deprive a government of an autonomous community of the Office,
  • to dissolve a parliament of an autonomous community that emerged from democratic, legitimate elections,
  • to dissolve an Autonomous Community,
  • to reduce or enlarge the territory of an Autonomous Community through border changes,
  • to deploy the Spanish military in the Autonomous Community concerned,
  • to establish the Guardia Civil or the Policía Nacional in the Autonomous Community concerned,
  • To deploy police forces from other autonomous communities in the Autonomous Community concerned.
However, the use of the Guardia Civil, the Policía Nacional or the police forces of other autonomous communities under the direction of the Madrid Central Government may be possible in Spain by other laws. However, this question can not be dealt with here, as it has so far been publicly stated in Spain that the corresponding operation is covered by Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution. At least that is not the case.
If one assumes, hypothetically, that the central Spanish State had legitimate reason and that, under Spanish law, Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution was to be applied against Catalonia, which sought its sovereignty and independence from Spain, then it would in any case be established that the "dismissal" - in fact it was a disempowerment - of the President, the Vice President and the Ministers of the Catalan Government and the President of the Catalan Parliament and other incumbents and the dissolution of the Catalan Parliament not by Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution and also covered by no other article of the Spanish Constitution, but constituted a grave violation of Spanish law.
In addition, they violate Article 1 of the above-mentioned and unconditionally ratified by Spain human rights pacts, which are also integrated as a mandatory right in the Spanish legal system.
Moreover, irrespective of the unlawfulness of the individual measures, it was unlawful in the aggregate and not covered by Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution to cumulate several measures, rather than only taking targeted action only those measures which seemed absolutely necessary.
Not only unlawful, but also grossly disproportionate, it was not only to dissolve the Catalan Parliament and announce new elections, but also to declare the democratic government of Catalonia dismissed from office.
Political right bow and judicial jurisprudence after Gutsherrenart
Let us stick to the hypothetical assumption that, in the present case, the Spanish central government would in principle have been entitled to apply Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution and exercise a corresponding "central government" vis-a-vis Catalonia. In this case, too, he would be bound by the law of the Spanish state and should not be allowed to act and act as he pleases and without a legal basis, as the Spanish government and the majority of the Spanish Senate are concerned.
Article 147 (1) of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Spain of 1978 provides:
"Within the framework of the present Constitution, the Statutes of Autonomy are the fundamental institutional norm of the respective Autonomous Community; the state recognizes them and protects them as an integral part of its legal system. "
Thus, the Catalan Autonomy Statute ( Estatut d'Autonomia ) is organic ("constitutional") law of the Spanish state. As a constitutional amendment, the Catalan Statute of Autonomy contains specific rules governing the election, de-election and removal of the President, Vice-President and Ministers of the Catalan Government, as well as the dissolution of the Catalan Parliament and the election of new elections.
Even if Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution is applied, the provisions of this constitutional amendment remain in force and must be observed by all Spanish officials as applicable law.
Numerous legal requirements of constitutional supplementary rank were ignored
A legally effective impeachment of an elected Catalan Government, a dissolution of the Catalan Parliament and the establishment of new elections in Catalonia may be legally effective only in the context of the orders and provisions of the Catalan Autonomy Statute. Relevant are the following constitutional articles (I refer to the fifth electronic edition of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy by the Generalitat de Catalunya of June 2016):
  • Article 67 (7) of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy regarding the dismissal of a President of the Catalan Government;
  • Article 68 (4) of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy regarding the dismissal of a Catalan Government;
  • Article 66 of the Catalan Autonomy Status regarding the end of a legislative period and the subsequent dissolution of the Parliament.
  • Article 56, paragraph 4 of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy regarding the announcement of elections to the Catalan Parliament.
A Catalan President may resign or be dismissed from office in accordance with Article 67 (7) of the Catalan Statute of Authors as follows:
" Article 67. 7. The President or President of the Generalitat shall be replaced by the Parliament, by means of which it shall be a member, by means of which it shall be by virtue of its right of censure or by reason of confusion, by deficiency, by dimissió, by incapacitat permanent, física o mental, reconeguda pel parliament, que l'inhabiliti per a l'exercici del càrrec, i per condemn penal ferma que comporti la inhabilitació per a l'exercici de càrrecs públics . "
"Article 67 (7): The office of the President ends with the renewal of the Parliament following elections, the acceptance of a motion of censure or the rejection of a vote of confidence, death, abdication, continued physical or mental decline identified by Parliament mental inability to exercise his office, which makes it impossible for him to carry out the duties, and a final criminal conviction, which includes a ban on wearing public office. "
Thus, under the leadership of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish government was never entitled to relieve Catalan President Carles Puigdemont of office. The fact that she has de facto impersonated him, does not establish the legal validity of a "deposition".
"Deposition" of the Catalan government
Under Article 68 (4), the mandate of a Catalan Government ends in the following case:
" Article 68. 4. El Govern cessa quan ho el el president o presidenta de la Generalitat ."
"Article 68 (4): The term of office of the Government ends when the President of the Generalitat leaves office."
To be added is Article 67 (3) of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy:
" Article 67. 3. Si, un cop transregreguts dos mesos de la primera votació d'investidura, cap candidat o candidata no és elegit, the Parliament resta dissolt automàticament i el president o presidenta de la Generalitat en funcions convoca eleccions de manera immediata , that han de tenir lloc entre quaranta i seixanta després de la convocatòria . "
"Article 67 (3): If no candidate has been elected two months after the first vote to elect a President of the Generalitat, the Parliament shall be automatically dissolved and the Executive President of the Generalitat shall immediately open new elections which must be made between forty and sixty days after the tender. "
The Generalitat de Catalunya consists of the President, the Ministers and the Parliament. The government ( Govern ) consists of the president, the prime minister ( Conseller Primer ) and the ministers of the individual departments ( Consellers ).
With regard to the Catalan Government, too, it can therefore be said that the "dismissal" of the Catalan ministers announced by the Spanish Prime Minister, allegedly applying Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, lacked any legal basis and was therefore not a legally effective dismissal but an illegal "disempowerment" "Acted.
Dissolution of the Catalan Parliament
Finally, Article 66 of the Catalan Autonomy Statute, which regulates the dissolution of the Catalan Parliament, is quoted:
Article 66. Causes de finiment de la legislatura
La legislatura fineix per expiració del mandat legal en complir-se el quatre anys de la data de les eleccions. També pot finir anticipadament si no télloc la investidura del president o presidenta de la Generalitat, o per dissolució anticipada, acordada pel president o presidenta de la Generalitat. "
"Article 66: Reasons for Termination of the Legislative Period"
The term ends when the legal mandate expires, as soon as four years have elapsed since the election date. It may also end prematurely if the inauguration of the President or Generalitat does not take place, or through premature dissolution ordered by the President of the Generalitat. "
Only Carles Puigdemont as elected and confirmed by the Spanish King of Catalonia President could thus dissolve the Catalan Parliament prematurely. As we know, he did not do that. Neither the King of Spain nor the Spanish Prime Minister nor the Spanish Senate were legally authorized to do so.
The "dissolution" of the Catalan Parliament announced by Mariano Rajoy was therefore unlawful. It was anyway a unique process in Europe: the "dissolution" or disempowerment of a democratically elected, legitimate parliament without a legal basis, because this could realize a people's unwanted popular will!
In "normal" times Article 56 (4) of the Catalan Autonomy Statute applies:
' Article 56. 4. The President or President of the Generalitat, which shall terminate the legislative process, shall be the convocar les eleccions, that is to say, the name of the province of the convocation.'
"Article 56 (4): The President of the Generalitat must convene elections fifteen days before the end of the legislature, which must take place between forty and sixty days after the call for tenders."
In any case, this case was not there anyway.
Severe attack on the self-determination of Catalonia since the Franco dictatorship
In sum, it can be stated as an intermediate result that
  • the "dismissal" of the President of the Generalitat de Catalunya,
  • the "dismissal" of the ministers of the Catalan government,
  • the "dismissal" of the President of the Catalan Parliament as well
  • the "dissolution" of the Catalan parliament by the Spanish government on 27./28. October 2017 had no legal basis in Spanish law and was thus illegal. It also violated the fundamental human rights of the Catalans, resulting from the United Nations Human Rights Pacts.
The sum of the measures may be called justly "coup from above", which aimed at an at least temporary dissolution of the central organs of the Catalan self-government and from historical point of view the most serious attack on the self-determination of the Catalan people since the end of the criminal Franco Represents dictatorship.
The disempowerment of Catalan self-government and the dicatorial takeover of the Catalan authorities and institutions by the Spanish central government, which has already caused a great deal of damage in the few months since its seizure of power, which has remained largely unknown in the German public, is one in this form serious blow to the fundamental principle of democracy and the rule of law and, in particular, one of the most serious human rights violations that has occurred in Europe since the end of the Second World War.
Spain's massive human rights violations threaten to permanently destroy the EU's foundation
These actions by Spain's state authorities not only shatter and destroy the fabric of the Spanish multinational state, but have the potential to morally discredit the European Union's long-term and sustainable project, unless the European Union states itself unequivocally by the Spanish government in Catalonia distance injustice.
It would go too far to discuss here how to assess the legality of the fact that the illegal, without legal basis and thus void "dismissal" of the Catalan President and his ministers by no means repealed their parliamentary immunity, so that the current criminal prosecution Both the legitimate Catalan president, as well as the majority of his government members and the Catalan parliamentary president, through the Spanish judiciary (on a recognizable mission and in collusion with the Spanish government) are directed against parliamentarians and government officials who may at least currently claim the status of criminal immunity (according to Article 70 of the Catalan Autonomy Statute), irrespective of the fact that, according to all that has come to the fore, it is unlawful that it committed any crime, but only for political reasons in human rights law criminal, illegal and possibly even criminally identifiable criminal prosecution.
However, it is pointed out that the Spanish Criminal Code (Código Penal) in Article 472 ( "Rebellion"), well defined some of the events were to have realized Mariano Rajoy and his government as criminal offenses unless they are accompanied by violence against persons:
"Artículo 472.
Son reos del delito de rebelión los que se alzaren violenta y públicamente para cualquiera de los fines siguientes:
1.o Derogar, suspender o modificar total o parcialmente la Constitución.
4.o Disciples las Cortes Generales, the Congreso de los Diputados, the Senado o cualquier Asamblea Legislativa de una Comunidad Autónoma, impedir que se reunan, deliberen o resuelvan, arrancarles alguna resolución o sustraerles alguna de sus atribuciones o competencias.
6.o Sustituir por otro el Gobierno de la Nación o the Consejo de Gobierno de una Comunidad Autónoma, o usar o ejercer por sí o despojar al Gobierno o Consejo de Gobierno de una Comunidad Autónoma, oc cualquiera de sus membros de sus facultades, o impedirles o coartarles su libre ejercicio, u obligar a cualquiera de ellos a ejecutar actos contrarios a su voluntad. "
Mariano Rajoy and his vice-president, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, currently acting as Regent of Catalonia with dictatorial powers, have partially suspended an extension of the Spanish Constitution, the Catalan Statute of Autonomy (Article 472 (1) CP).
You have the Catalan Parliament, which undoubtedly the Legislative Assembly (Asamblea Legislativa) an Autonomous Community (Comunidad Autónoma) is dissolved (art. 472, para. 4 CP).
They have replaced the government of one autonomous community with another (Article 472 (6) CP).
Should not the same prosecutor, who is currently investigating Catalan government members, also initiate preliminary proceedings against the Spanish president and the Spanish vice-president, especially as she does not appear to be at all involved in the proceedings against the Catalans, who can not be held responsible for any violence against persons ?
But the leader of the Spanish minority government can probably rely on the loyalty of the highest prosecutors and judges and the dependence of the Spanish judiciary, which is probably not wrongly considered to be partially corrupt.
And, as we know, the Spanish Constitutional Court has for years been a partisan assistant to the Partido Popular and the Spanish minority government, so that a constitutional complaint against this kind of application of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution seems almost hopeless for political rather than legal reasons ,
The policy question: was the application of Article 155 in Catalonia justified?
After clarifying that the way the Spanish government "ceased" the Catalan president, the Catalan ministers and the Catalan parliamentary president, citing a purported authorization by article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, dissolved the democratically elected Catalan parliament and unconstitutionally appealed new elections to Catalonia, was clearly illegal - if not criminal, even if Article 472 of the Spanish Penal Code was applicable - was and still is the final issue to be considered in terms of the conditions for the application of Article 155 were.
Prior to a decision on the application of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution by the Spanish Senate, it required a written request from the Spanish President to the President of the Generalitat de Catalunya and a clear failure by the latter to comply with this request.was issued such an invitation and was answered in due form and in due time on 19 October 2017 by the Catalan president. The central question of the Spanish President, if the Catalan Parliament had voted on 10 October 2017 the independence of Catalonia.
Truthfully, the Catalan President stated in his reply that the Catalan Parliament the outcome of the referendum of 1 October 2017 - had exposed and offered an open dialogue and a meeting of the Spanish government - independence of Catalonia from Spain in the form of a republic. I quote this letter in German translation:
" The president of the Generalitat de Catalunya
To the
Honorable Mr. Mariano Rajoy Brey President of the Government
Palacio de la Moncloa
28071 Madrid
Dear President Rajoy,
the people of Catalonia decided its independence on October 1 in a referendum with the participation of a high percentage of voters. A higher percentage than the one that allowed the United Kingdom to lead the United Kingdom and Gibraltar European Union membership referendum process in motion, and with a greater number of Catalans than those who voted for the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia.
On 10 October, Parliament held one meeting with the purpose of evaluating the results and the impact of the referendum; and there I suggested to let the effects of that mandate of the people exposed.
I did it in order to facilitate a dialogue, the political and social institutions and leaders from all over Europe and the rest of the world in a repetitive manner, you and close to lay down me. In this sense, I hit you before in my not so far responded to letter on Monday to hold a meeting.
Neither the request was granted, lift the repression. They were reinforced in the opposite and have led to the arrest of the President of Òmnium Cultural and the President of the Assemblea Nacional Catalana, associations of recognized civil, peaceful and democratic orientation.
This suspension remains in force. The decision to use Article 155 of the Government of the State comes to prior approval of the Senate. That to talk in spite of all these efforts and our will, together, the only answer is to be the suspension of self-determination, shows that the problem you are not aware of and do not want to talk.
If the state government continues to refuse dialogue and continue the oppression, the Parliament of Catalonia, will ultimately, if it deems appropriate, are preparing to vote on the formal declaration of independence, about which there is not voted on 10 October.
Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó Barcelona, the 19 October 2017 "
PS: I refer you to the link to the minutes of the Parliament of Catalonia out the same as the session 43 Tuesday, 10 October 2017: https://www.parlament.cat/document/dspcp/236781.pdf . »
Although the Catalan President had replied in time and had stated clearly and unequivocally that so far no independence declaration had been made, but the Catalan side looked for the political dialogue with the Spanish government, the Spanish government published yet on 19 October 2017 announcement by claiming , the Spanish government notice an alleged refusal of the Catalan President, concerning the issue of the Spanish President to answer clearly and precisely whether any authority of Catalonia had declared the independence of this autonomous community, and its invitation to restore his opinion violated constitutional order, to follow, which Mariano Rajoy announced the application of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution.
Catalan offer of talks until the last minute
but the Catalan side offered to literally last minute dialogue and continued to implement the Declaration of Catalonia's independence. Yet on 26 October 2017, the Catalan president was open to a mediation attempt by the Basque president and even considered the resolution of the Catalan Parliament and the entry of new elections. Stubborn, unforgiving and oscillating each offer to discuss the Madrid government had, however, stated that they would apply the Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution in any case against Catalonia and on October 26, 2017th
Earlier, the spokesman of the Partido Popular, Pablo Casado, already threatened with the same fate the Catalan president and his ministers that had been given decades ago the Catalan president Lluís Companys, the Hitler's henchmen were extradited to Spain, where he was murdered on Franco's command.
In response to the announcement by the Spanish Government, Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution apply in any case against Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont explained that he did not, as contemplated yet on 26 October 2017 call an election, but the decision on how to proceed with regard to the requested by the Catalan folk independence from Spain will leave the Parliament of Catalonia.
The Catalan Parliament then convened in parallel with the Spanish Senate. It was only after the decision of the Spanish Senate, Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution against Catalonia apply the Catalan Parliament decided majority independence from Spain and the Republic of Catalonia proclaimed in international law immaculate shape - notably founded on Article 1 of the two Covenants on Human Rights, the mandatory in Spain are right.
By no means can thus be said that the application of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution was a reaction to the proclamation of the Republic of Catalonia, since this only occurred in response to the decision by the Spanish Senate, the Catalans by application of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution it to curtail human right to self-determination sensitive and illegal.
Neither there was therefore at the time of the resolution on the application of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution in the Spanish Senate a sufficient reason for this action nor does it in required to be as a last resort is what it would have been necessary in itself.
It is rather to establish without doubt that the government of Mariano Rajoy is refused steadfastly to dialogue and constructive negotiations and determined it was working to temporarily put the Catalan autonomy by application of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, at least out of power and exert a dictatorial government power over Catalonia.
Was the controversial referendum actually illegal?
Finally, I return to a point mentioned, since I started discussing the legal position under a hypothetical assumption. Before anything else, in legal terms, the question is to consider whether the referendum of October 1, 2017 was legitimate and whether the Catalan people had the right and has to decide for themselves about how it decides to exercise the human right to self-determination. The answer to this problem, which I at elsewhere have already discussed, is clear:
1. The referendum of October 1, 2017 was in accordance with international law and the Spanish legal system, in which the two Covenants on Human Rights of the United Nations was incorporated as a mandatory law, legitimate. The decision of the Spanish Constitutional Court, superior and after the other articles of the Spanish Constitution as a human rights they should be breaking to interpret, is illegal and shows once again the political partisanship of the Spanish Constitutional Court.
2. The Catalan people was justified under international law, natural law and Spanish law to vote on its independence from the Spanish monarchy and proclaim the establishment of a Catalan Republic unilaterally.
3. The Spanish government and the Spanish Senate were and are not entitled to declare the unilateral independence of Catalonia and the activities come under their legislation invalid or void. You could submit only through negotiations of the Catalan government offers for a possible further voluntary remain in the composite of the Spanish multi-ethnic state, which they did not even draw, however, in disregard of the international situation clearly considered and not understand that the current trodden of Spain route will inevitably lead to the separation of Catalonia from Spain and Spain can not avoid this in the long term.
Thus, it is noted that even if the Catalan Parliament had declared the independence of Catalonia before the application of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, this is a legitimate under international and Spanish law, exercise of the Catalan folk irrevocable rightful human right to self-determination would have acted, its realization within the Spanish legal system can not be a criminal offense, and in particular, no basis for the application of Article 155 and whatsoever forced the Spanish state against one of the peoples of Spain represents.
Whoever enters Europe and around the world for human rights, rule of law and democracy, can not fail to welcome the Republic of Catalonia as a new state in Europe friendly and the illegal, undemocratic and, in particular human rights violations approach the Spanish Government and the Spanish State that pulls the prestige of Spain in the world in the dirt, be roundly condemned.
Moreover, the peaceful, democratic and the rules of international law be followed procedure of the Catalans is a role model for the whole world: how many conflicts there that are turned violent world because existing States refuse larger as smaller nations their human right to self-determination! The Catalan nation goes its way peacefully, confident, unstoppable and in dignity. And that's why it will be successful.
* Prof. Dr. Axel Schönberger is linguist and among others a former board member of the German Katalanistenverbandes (DKV) and the International Katalanistenverbandes (AILLC) 

See also "Perquè el referèndum català per la independència no va ser il·legal."
"El referèndum català del 1 d’octubre 2017 no va ser il·legal— l’intent d’impedir-lo va ser il·legítim". Axel Schönberger