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Spain’s Constitutional Court Defies International Law

by Stephen Lendman ( – Home – Stephen Lendman)

Spain’s highest judicial body ignored the right of Catalans to declare their independence from fascist Spain – self-determination affirmed under the UN Charter and other international law.

Its constitutional court breached it by suspending the Catalan parliament’s Monday session – a majority of MPs expected to declare the autonomous region’s independence – its legal right.

On Thursday, the high court upheld a challenge by Catalonia’s Socialist party (in name only), opposing independence, warning defiance of its ban would render a secessionist move “null,” threatening majority MPs with criminal action if they ignore its ruling.

President Puigdemont’s government is meeting to discuss its next move. Catalan parliamentary President Carme Forcadell blasted the court’s ruling, saying it “harms freedom of expression and the right of initiative of members of this parliament and shows once more how the courts are being used to solve political problems.”

On Wednesday, Puigdemont said “(p)eace and accord are part of who we are. We have to apply the results of the referendum. We have to present the results of the referendum to parliament.”

If he and his government back down, it’ll be bowing to judicial tyranny, betraying 90% of Catalans supporting independence in last Sunday’s referendum.

It’s unclear what’s coming next. Madrid could invoke Article 155 of Spain’s constitution, considered a nuclear option, taking all “necessary measures” to assure compliance, including suspending or ending regional autonomy, undermining a core democratic principle, seizing control of Catalonia’s government, arresting its officials, and replacing them with subservient ones.

Going this far could ignite a firestorm in the streets. So could preventing Catalonia from declaring independence, defying the overwhelming will of its people.

A full-scale constitutional crisis is brewing. Military forces were deployed to the outskirts of Barcelona. Thousands of national police and civil guards remain in and around the city, ready to act as ordered.

Constitutional Law Professor Mariano Bacigalupo earlier said invoking Article 155 would take the country into unchartered territory. It’s never been used before. Nor have other EU countries with similar laws.

It’s a “last resort” measure “to deal with an extraordinary and traumatic event,” said Bacigalupo, “not so much to be used but as a deterrence.”

The scene is set for more turbulence whatever decisions are made by Madrid and Catalan parliamentarians.

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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.