Tuesday, November 30

Sánchez voted ‘no’ to reform the Amnesty Law in 2011


The president of the Government, Pedro Sanchez, voted in July 2011 against Congress modifying the Amnesty Law, supporting, among others, the argument that this discussion was not “adequate” 34 years later. Sánchez was just another deputy on the socialist bench and had practically just arrived in the Lower House. The Mixed Group, at the initiative of the BNG, proposed that the Plenary process a reform so that the crimes of genocide or crimes against humanity perpetrated during the Franco regime could be judged retroactively, in application of international conventions. The same demand that ERC transfers today to La Moncloa to give its support to the new Memory Law.

Catalan deputy Jordi Pedret and Grenzner He was in charge of arguing the vote against his group and dismantled from top to bottom the proposal of the Galician independentistas. The lawyer also recalled that the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties expressly prohibits international conventions from being applied retroactively and that the Spanish Constitution establishes the non-retroactivity of the unfavorable criminal law. In addition, he defended that the reform would also take forward the principle of legal certainty.

“You propose that non-existent criminal offenses be applied retroactively at the time of the commission of the facts – if they were committed, in any case it should be the courts that say so, not the Parliament – as well as that they can be reviewed without limitation some all the acts derived from the application of the Amnesty Law, “he censored. Pedret i Grenzner did not stop there and continued to charge against the lack of opportunity and need for reform. He pointed out that, since 2004, the Spanish Penal Code already includes that crimes against humanity are imprescriptible. «What you request is either already in the Constitution, or is directly contrary to constitutional principles or is already included in the Penal Code. My group understands that we cannot modify laws to avoid certain interpretations, “he added. “And from the point of view of opportunity, the discussion of the Amnesty Law is not adequate at this time, thirty-four years later,” he said, to finish by defining the Transition amnesty as “a path of reconciliation” and “Democratic credibility”.

The socialist bench, with Sánchez, Antonio Hernando (today attached to the Chief of Staff of the Presidency), Rafael Simancas (Secretary of State for Relations with the Courts), Meritxell Batet (President of Congress) or the former First Vice President and promoter of the new Democratic Memory Law, Carmen Calvo, they erupted in great applause after this intervention. The result of the vote was only eight yeses (ERC, IU, BNG and the former socialist minister María Antonia Trujillo) compared to 320 noes (PSOE, PP, CiU, CC, UPN) and eight abstentions (PNV and two PP deputies by mistake).

“I well remember that demanding and hopeful slogan that I chanted so many times at demonstrations and university meetings: ‘freedom, amnesty, statute of autonomy!'”

Against revisionism

Sánchez not only voted in support of this criterion, but also made it his own when seven years later, in March 2018, ERC and Bildu again promoted an amnesty reform in Congress in the same sense. The current head of the Government at that time occupied the General Secretariat of the PSOE although he lacked a seat because he had resigned two years earlier so as not to abstain from the second inauguration of Mariano Rajoy. And the order that the Socialist deputies received in 2018 was the same as in 2011, to vote against.

In addition to Simancas, Hernando and Batet, many of the great socialist faces of today voted ‘no’ to reform the amnesty: the Government spokesperson, Isabel Rodríguez, the current Defense Minister, Margarita Robles, the new PSOE spokesperson, Felipe Sicilia , or the deputy secretary general of the party, Adriana Lastra. Previously, the intervention in the Plenary of the then socialist spokesman for Justice, Gregorio Cámara, was interrupted several times by the outbreak of his bench in applause. It happened when he defended that the 1977 amnesty “was not an end-to-end law as certain political groups want us to believe in their stubbornness to misrepresent history” and also when he stressed that that pardon was “the fruit deliberately pursued by democratic Courts that collected the echo of the street ». «I remember well that demanding and hopeful slogan that I chanted so many times in demonstrations and university meetings: ‘Freedom, amnesty, statute of autonomy!’ “added Camera.

Continuing with this firm discourse against reviewing the Transition, the also professor of Constitutional Law accused ERC and other pro-independence groups of “insulting the 1978 constitutional system, which they have ambiguously referred to – always pretending to damage it – as the 1978 regime. »And even warned them that «No one will ever be able to make us believe that that law was the product of the imposition of Francoist elites and the weakness of the left political opposition; because it was a work of hope for the reconciliation of a people. “Do not forget, in the vanguard were political forces of the left, especially communists and socialists,” he added.

There was still a third initiative in the same sense in Congress and that also received the rejection of the PSOE. It was in January 2017, when the socialist leader was not a deputy or secretary general of the party and Pablo Iglesias was leading Podemos. This third attempt was much less important, since it did not propose a legal reform of the amnesty, it only urged the Government to promote it and it was not debated in the Plenary, but in the Justice Commission.

Last Wednesday, not 34 years had passed since the approval of the Amnesty Law, but ten more, 44, but Sánchez amended his criteria and the one maintained by his party all this time. “Guarantee the victims’ right to justice” was the argument of PSOE and Podemos when registering their controversial amendment. A change that in practice does not have a criminal path, but that politically places the socialists on the side that Gregorio Cámara described so well: that of those determined to distort history and revile the Transition.


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