Translator’s note: 9N is the name for the unofficial Catalan independence referendum held on 9 November 2014. Then president Artur Mas stood trial a fortnight ago, along with two colleagues, on charges related to allegedly organising an illegal vote.
On Monday it will be the turn of Francesc Homs. The ex-minister of the Presidency will appear before the Supreme Court over his involvement in 9N, after the Catalan Supreme Court’s trial of the ex-president of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, ex-vice president Joana Ortega and ex-minister Irene Rigau. Homs has warned that the Spanish state is “undermining the rule of law and democracy” with the judicialisation of Catalan politics, and that the Spanish government “whether they convict [us] or acquit, have already lost”.
"They think that this way they will win, they just have to make the argument convincingly", said Homs. In an interview with Catalunya Ràdio, the former Catalan minister lamented that “the powers-that-be in Madrid” didn’t know about “the critical conscience of Catalan society”. On the threat to invoke article 155 of the Constitution [which gives the central government broad powers against any dissenting autonomous community], Homs stated that there’s no need to “exaggerate” this possibility because, he said, the Catalan government “has de facto already been taken over” as it “has lost all financial autonomy, and there’s no political autonomy without financial autonomy”.
One of the crimes Homs is accused of is disobedience of the Constitutional Court, which he describes as “cynical” because, he said, it’s the Spanish state that “doesn’t abide by the rulings of the Constitutional Court and which uses the politics and powers of the State for purely partisan ends”. He was referring to the court’s ruling which recognised the Catalan government’s right to distribute 0.7% of income tax (IRPF) and the smear campaign against Catalan leaders known as “Operation Catalonia”.
Homs will employ the same arguments as the prosecutors themselves to articulate his defence in the trial which starts Monday. The ex-minister has explained that he would have liked it if the prosecutor Eduardo Torres Dulce –who resigned after filing the lawsuit against Mas, Ortega and Rigau– could have testified, similarly the Spanish president, Mariano Rajoy, to ask him one question: "Sir, did you give orders for them to bring charges against us?"
The trial will start on Monday morning at 10 and will last until Wednesday. On Monday morning, the parties will respond to the preliminary questions and Homs himself will testify. Artur Mas will appear as a witness on Tuesday afternoon, as will the former president of the Advisory Council for the National Transition, Carles Viver i Pi-Sunyer and the former secretary of Communication of the Catalan government, Josep Martí Blanch, among others.