Jailed ministers and Puigdemont to lodge a complaint with the United Nations for a violation of their political rights

On March 27, the United Nations Human Rights Committee admitted a complaint from Puigdemont

This Thursday, the ministers Oriol Junqueras, Raül Romeva, Josep Rull, Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Turull, together with former President Carles Puigdemont will lodge a complaint with the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations in Geneva to denounce a violation of their political rights as Members of Parliament for having been suspended by Judge Pablo Llarena in a decision backed by the Spanish Parliament.

The international lawyer in charge of their case, Nico Krisch, will outline each of their demands at a press conference which will also be attended by Puigdemont, the ERC’s secretary general, Marta Rovira, who is also in exile in Geneva, and the CUP MP Maria Sirvent. Also present at the event to be held at 11 am at the Swiss Press Club, will be the spokesperson for the Republican Parliamentary Group, Anna Caula, the spokesperson for the Junts per Catalunya Parliamentary Group, Albert Batet, and Ernest Benach, representing the former presidents of the Parliament of Catalonia.

On March 27, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee admitted a complaint from Puigdemont for a violation of his political rights in Spain when his investiture was blocked. The decision followed on from the UN ruling issued the previous week calling on the Spanish government to guarantee the rights of the Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) MP Jordi Sànchez.

In early February, Puigdemont's lawyers announced the presentation of the complaint, the first step in an international offensive to denounce the violation of his political rights and to apply pressure on the Spanish government. Specifically, the complaint alleged that Spain has violated two international agreements: the covenant on civil and political rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Having admitted the complaint, the UN Committee will have to issue its ruling, a process which can take from one to two years. The Spanish state also has the right to present its side of the case.

Puigdemont filed the complaint with the UN, and not to another body such as the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) since the UN’s framework for interpretation is based on the international covenant on civil and political rights, which recognizes the right to self-determination. The UN’s final resolution will be formally binding on Spain, since it is a signatory to the declaration and the organisation’s additional covenant. However, the Committee does not have the capacity to sanction Spain if it decides not to respect its decision.

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