Capital riesgo y capital erótico: Reflexiones sobre el caso Invercaria.

No se asusten; con el título del post quiero hacer referencia no al indudable atractivo de la sra ex Presidenta de Invercaria, sino al libro de Catherine Hakim, doctora en Sociología y profesora en la London School of Economics, que acabo de comprar y todavía no he tenido tiempo de leer pero cuyas reseñas –elogiosas- resaltan que su objeto es el análisis del capital erótico (el poder de fascinar a los demás). Añade la autora en la introducción que con el libro pretende “descifrar los procesos sociales que ayudan a las personas atractivas a obtener más resultados y a obtenerlos antes”.  Porque el capital erótico es, en nuestra sociedad, tan esencial para triunfar -y no solo en la vida personal sino también en la profesional- como otros capitales más “tradicionales”, tales como la riqueza, el talento, la formación o las buenas relaciones. Hasta ahí, y a falta de una lectura sosegada, no parece que haya nada que objetar, a no ser la de que para los que tenemos una experiencia profesional ya dilatada la revelación resulta un tanto obvia y más en los tiempos que corren.

Y efectivamente, la historia del fulgurante ascenso de la sra  Gómiz     a Presidenta de una sociedad de capital riesgo pública que maneja unos fondos muy importantes me recordó esta lectura pendiente. Porque es evidente que esta sra, tan joven ha obtenido más resultados y en bastante menos tiempo que lo que es habitual en el sector público español,  incluso en el sector público andaluz, donde por lo que se está viendo, se asciende bastante más rápido que en los escalafones funcionariales al uso. Especialmente si se está en posesión de dos de los capitales anteriormente citados, el erótico y el relacional, aunque se carezca de manera notoria del resto de ellos. Porque para acceder a una plaza de funcionario, aunque sea de un nivel muy modesto y que no permita manejo alguno de fondos públicos resulta que es necesario acreditar unos determinados conocimientos superando unas oposiciones. E incluso para acceder a determinadas plazas del sector público se requiere un sistema de concurso-oposición, es decir, acreditar unos mínimos conocimientos teóricos, realizar algunas entrevistas y tener un cv más o menos adecuado para el puesto de trabajo.  Pero en cambio para dirigir una empresa que gestiona un montón de dinero público no hace ninguna falta.

Lo más interesante, no obstante, es que para los agraciados con estos importantes capitales la ausencia del resto parece pasarles totalmente desapercibida, por lo menos si juzgamos por las ya famosas grabaciones donde la ex Presidenta de Invercaria intenta convencer a su subordinado para que fabrique determinados informes con “carácter retroactivo” que permitan justificar las decisiones de inversión adoptadas con anterioridad al parecer sin estudio previo alguno. El desparpajo desde luego es envidiable, lo mismo que la asombrosa capacidad de inventiva, de la que ella misma se vanagloria, y con razón, en la cinta -no sabemos si manipulada o no manipulada hasta que lo digan los jueces. Si lo que hemos leído de las transcripciones es cierto,  la verdad es que estamos alcanzando nuevas y desconocidas cotas en el esperpento nacional. Quedénse con estas declaraciones del personaje en el juicio laboral por el despido del técnico que la grabó: “Es mi voz pero no mis pensamientos”.

Y es que la sociedad Invercaria   es una sociedad de capital riesgo pero de capital enteramente público, perteneciente en el 100% a la  ya famosa Agencia de Innovación y Desarrollo de Andalucía   IDEA, si, la misma que la de los ERES) que vaya si ha innovado, por lo menos en lo que se refiere a procedimientos administrativos y a selección de su personal directivo.

Por cierto, que entre las noticias que publica Invercaria, encontramos una férrea defensa  frente a los ataques de “representantes del Partido Popular” que “continúan en la línea de afirmaciones sesgadas, tendenciosas y falsas”.  Está francamente bien, porque además de soslayar el hecho de que existe algún informe de la Cámara de Cuentas de Andalucía que ya ponía reparos a la imaginativa gestión de la ex Presidenta de Invercaria, este tipo de noticias presuponen que la sociedad pública pertenece en cuerpo y alma no a los contribuyentes andaluces (y europeos, en la medida en que gestione programas europeos) sino al PSOE, directivos y técnicos incluidos. Lo que probablemente sea bastante cierto por lo menos hasta el día 25, porque después –siempre que gane el PP, claro- probablemente todos ellos descubran que eran técnicos o represaliados, o hasta submarinos del PP. Porque, al contrario de lo que dijo San Ignacio, en España tanto en el sector público como en el privado en tiempos de tribulación conviene hacer mudanza.

Pero con independencia de la opinión que nos merezca el hecho de que el sector público se haya lanzado a constituir sociedades públicas de capital riesgo (SCR) con gran entusiasmo y poco conocimiento de causa, conviene aclarar que una sociedad de este tipo, además de contar con una regulación muy estricta contenida en la Ley 25/ 2005 de 24 de noviembre reguladora de las entidades de capital riesgo y estar sujeta (por lo menos teóricamente) a importantes controles de la CNMV (dado que, de entrada, necesitan su autorización previa del proyecto de constitución)  suelen estar enormemente profesionalizada. O por lo menos cuando manejan capital privado, ya se sabe que con el dinero de los contribuyentes se suele ser bastante más alegre.  Lo que es lógico, porque  los inversores privados suelen tener mucho cuidado a la hora de depositar su capital en manos de los gestores que van a decidir en qué empresas (“participadas”) se invierte dicho dinero, dado que de su buen hacer dependerá que su inversión tenga o no retorno. Por esa razón, se priman criterios de  experiencia y profesionalidad y los incentivos de los gestores están vinculados al éxito de las operaciones.

En definitiva, en el capital riesgo privado los gestores suelan ser  profesionales de mucha preparación y mucha experiencia, con trayectorias profesionales vinculadas bien a la industria, bien a la banca de inversión o bien a otras sociedades de capital riesgo.  Las decisiones de inversión se toman después de analizar muy detenidamente (sí, los famosos informes que se inventa doña Laura) todos los aspectos relevantes de las posibles empresas en las que se puede invertir  Y aún así, muchas veces las cosas no salen bien (al fin y al cabo se trata de capital riesgo).

En cualquier caso, los contribuyentes de nuevo pagamos todo; las inversiones de la sociedad de capital riesgo, dado que lo previsible es que las empresas participadas produzcan pérdidas si  ni siquiera se las ha evaluado antes de tomar la decisión de invertir en ellas)  las consecuencias económicas, en su caso, de una posible sentencia favorable al técnico despedido, el sueldo de la sra Gómiz, la querella que ha puesto Invercaria para defender su honor contra el exdirectivo y me imagino que también la indemnización de todos estos brillantes gestores públicos si a algún día alguien se decide a echarles de una vez.

 

Supreme Court ruling in the “Garzón 3” (or Historic Memory) case

Continuamos la publicación de traducciones al inglés con ésta del post que comenta la sentencia que absuelve a  Garzón por su investigación de los crímenes del franquismo.

Supreme Court ruling in the “Garzón 3” (or Historic Memory) case

We shall finish off this series devoted to the successive cases brought against Judge Garzón with comments on this final ruling handed down on February 27th. This is perhaps the most interesting case of the three, from both a political and legal standpoint.

The ruling –which may be consulted here, albeit in Spanish– was accompanied by two individual opinions, one concurring (in agreement with the judgement, but not with its line of argument) and the other dissenting. As in the previous cases, it is essential to distinguish clearly between the background of this affair (in this case, crimes committed in the Franco era and the question of the shallow, unmarked graves that still exist) and the heart of the matter (whether or not Judge Garzón committed «prevaricación», i.e. “abuse of power by knowingly acting without jurisdiction”). Both questions are important and complex, certainly warranting not one, but many posts, which explains the length of this one. Before anything else, we´ll go over the proven facts to bring the reader up to speed.

In December 2006, several individuals and associations presented a lawsuit before the National Court in Madrid. Their complaint informed the Court of a series of disappearances and crimes committed during Spain’s Civil War and the post-war period, and declared not knowing the identities of the victims or where they were buried. They were therefore seeking due process to discover the truth and duly locate, identify and hand over the mortal remains in question. Judge Garzón, who received the case, did practically nothing with this case over the next two years. The interested parties formally complained about this inactivity before the CGPJ (General Council of the Judiciary) and as a result of this, in January 2008, the judge requested a report from the public prosecutor’s office regarding his jurisdictional authority. This report was negative based on the statute of limitations, the principle of non-retroactivity and Spain’s Amnesty Law of 1977. It was not until October of that year that the judge issued a further order, declaring himself competent to hear the case.  He cited the legal framework of Crimes against Humanity and put forward arguments to contest the “hurdles” put forward by the prosecutor. However, Garzón did anticipate losing such jurisdiction, once the death of those responsible had been certified. Indeed, the following month, with the corresponding death certificates in hand and before the prosecutor’s appeal was allowed by the Criminal Chamber of the National Court, the judge pronounced that criminal liability had lapsed due to the death of those people against whom the investigation was directed. Garzón passed the case on to those courts with territorial jurisdiction over the exhumations. Moreover, we must add two significant facts: the first is that, in December 1998, the judge had rejected the action brought against Santiago Carrillo (life-long Communist allegedly present at a massacre during the Civil War) and others, presented by an association of friends of the victims of Paracuellos (site of the massacre), on the grounds of the 1977 Amnesty Law. The second is that the so-called Historic Memory Law, which declares the administrative authorities to be competent with respect to exhumations, was passed in December 2007, almost one year before Judge Garzón issued the final order.

Starting with the background of the case, the first thing that should be pointed out is that it is hard to believe that now, thirty-five years after the Spanish Constitution was passed, we are still at this juncture. In an article of mine published by Javier Pradera, the much admired and sadly missed director of Claves, in October 2006 (“Recuperar la Memoria” — “Recovering Memory”), I referred to the case of the Volksbund association, a humanitarian organisation made up of volunteer youth from the countries occupied by the Nazis during the Second World War.The organisation is dedicated to cleaning and conserving the war cemeteries in Normandy where the buried fallen are… German. Something like that provokes envy, because we do not have a Memory here in Spain, we have many memories. And this is what has made it so difficult to do things that are not just worthy, but rather essential, as we still await a solution for those lying in many ditches around our country. Well, what is made crystal clear by reading this ruling, if there is anyone who did not know this before, is that the responsibility for building this Memory and satisfying the legitimate aspirations of the victims’ relatives is ours as a Nation and, therefore, corresponds to our Parliament. This is the institution which must furnish –as it started to do with the 2007 Law, albeit in a highly insufficient fashion– the means necessary to achieve this end. What there can be no doubt about is the fact that this is not the responsibility of our criminal justice system, which is there for other purposes, namely pursuing (living) offenders whose crimes have not lapsed and sending them to jail. It is not up to the legal system to undertake so-called “truth trials”, which may still be highly necessary in this country, but which call for another venue with other people in charge. Criminal proceedings are in no way the ideal way to perform this function, given that their goal is rather different. Judge Garzón was being tried precisely because he attempted to ignore this fact, with the accusation of «prevaricación» referring to the aforesaid two orders of October and November 2008.

Now, as we move on to the heart of the matter, it is necessary to repeat yet again that the crime of «prevaricación» comprises two elements, one objective (unfair decision, this being taken to mean a radical divergence from the applicable legislation) and another subjective element (doing so “knowingly”). As regards the objective element, the Supreme Court believes that when the judge declared himself competent in the first order in October, he was illegitimately skipping over four “hurdles” (as the judge himself calls them): the non-retroactivity principle governing criminal cases, an expired statute of limitations, the Amnesty Law and the absence (due to death) of any possible suspects. The order in November jumped over another hurdle, the exclusive competence of the Administration regarding exhumations. However, one of the individual opinions also refers to excess, Garzón overstepping the mark by declaring himself not qualified, due to the death of the suspects, given that this would correspond to the Chamber. We will not deal with all of these, as otherwise this post would be interminable. However, we will address the fundamental issue, namely whether considering these crimes to be crimes against humanity allows the first three hurdles (non-retroactivity, statute of limitations and amnesty) to be skipped.

The Supreme Court performed a detailed analysis of the subject (highly recommended reading for anyone interested in this fascinating question) and comes to the conclusion that Spanish Law is governed, as a cornerstone of the whole system, by the principle of legality, and its requirements of lex previa, lex certa, lex scripta and lex stricta. The classification of these incidents as crimes against humanity appears in a body of regulations that was not in force (that is, not incorporated into Spanish Law) at the time the incidents occurred, in breach of the fundamental requirement of lex previa. Using many examples and citing many cases, the Court proves that this is a principle generally accepted under International Criminal Law. Secondly, as they are ordinary offences, the crimes committed are clearly statute-barred, whatever the manner of calculating the time might be. Thirdly, the declaration that the statute of limitations is not applicable to crimes against humanity, according to the Treaties ratified by Spain, cannot be deemed to be retroactive, as these are regulations of a substantive criminal nature. Fourthly, the crimes were duly pardoned by Spain’s 1977 Amnesty Law. The Court defends its application to this case, not just because of the prevailing circumstances at the moment it was passed –wide-ranging national consensus, especially among the anti-Franco groups– but also because the inefficacy of this type of law, spawned by international legislation, cannot be of a retroactive nature (it would only be applicable to amnesty laws passed subsequently). In any case, it would require a new Law to be passed by Parliament authorising the same and so, evidently, an examining magistrate cannot take this upon himself. Finally, the judge must have been aware of the death of any possible guilty party, which would make it patently inadmissible to even initiate the investigative pre-trial stage.

It would thus appear that the requirement of the objective element has been resoundingly fulfilled, but the truth is that the majority vote, with a surprising change of tack (surprising in relation to the “Garzón 1” case), says otherwise, because it must be admitted that Garzón’s opinion was shared by a report from the Public Prosecutor’s office and, on a certain occasion, by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The Court likewise cites a certain doctrinal school of thought reflected in a resolution of the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights. However, in the end, it recognises that said doctrine always ends up requiring the principle of legality, even if it be in the attenuated form of international common law. In any case, all of this justifies the belief that the interpretation of the accused judge, while being erroneous, did not fall within the realms of «prevaricación», as it is not radically removed from a possible interpretation of the legislation applicable to the case.

Heavens above!… In the “Garzón 1″ case, there was even a ruling from the Constitutional Court which interpreted the famous Art. 51 of the Spanish General Penitentiary Law in the same way as the judge, apart from the fact that a literal interpretation in those terms was perfectly defensible. Nonetheless, the judge was found guilty, because the divergence from the applicable law was so radical that it practically drew in the subjective element (a judge could not fail to be aware of the fact). And now, following an impeccable theoretical class in International Criminal Law, backed up by reams of Spanish jurisprudence, the Supreme Court tells us that the existence of a report from the Public Prosecutor and from some Inter-American Commission along these lines means that the requirement of the objective element has not been fulfilled!

No wonder the two who added individual opinions rushed to lash out on this issue. The first one, the concurring opinion, feels the objective element of the charge has been sufficiently demonstrated. However, the magistrate points out that the subjective element has not been duly demonstrated during the proceedings; what’s more, he believes that the fact Garzón recused himself in the end is a sign of this lack of bad faith.

The second individual opinion, the dissenting one, is much more extensive and, with all due respect, battle-hardened. He goes all out and builds up a final line of argument which, had it been fully taken on board by the Chamber and the case were not this one, but rather that of the lawyers, would have earned him even more praise than the ruling of the “Garzón 1” case received. It is centred around the basic idea that, at all times, the judge had no intention of trying anyone, but simply that of satisfying the legitimate right of the relatives of the dead and missing to know the final resting place of their remains. Legitimate no doubt, but completely misguided, as to do so would entail a total infringement of current legislation. He thus builds up the case for the charge of «prevaricación», in both its objective and subjective elements, with fairly solid arguments, dismantling one by one the arguments of the majority and of the concurring opinions. Among other data he employs for this purpose, he cites Garzón’s rejection of the lawsuit against Santiago Carrillo –using the same arguments he now rejects– such as ignorance of the fact that the Historic Memory Law attributed this competence for authorising exhumations to the Administration. He ends by stating that the acquittal encourages precisely what pursuing the crime of «prevaricación» aims to combat: an interpretation beyond the limits of the law, in accordance with individual ideas and opinions –sometimes highly praiseworthy– of judges.

I fear the final conclusion of this series of posts has to be rather pessimistic. It portrays a judicial system –but also a society and news media– of a much lower quality than is to be expected in a modern democracy boasting the rule of law. These cases have demonstrated that Judge Garzón did not have much respect for his profession, at least not in the way that I understand respect: having a deep understanding of the purpose of his job in society, a clear understanding of the limits of its reach, and acting accordingly. He relegated his profession to second place on many occasions, sometimes to bathe in the limelight of fame, others for well-intended but deviant purposes, all in plain view and unimpeded by anyone. Until the Supreme Court decided that the time had come to put an end to this uncontrolled maverick (affording itself a competence it does not possess). If we had to choose the most suitable case for getting him kicked out, there can be no doubt that, from a technical standpoint, it was this Historic Memory case. But, obviously, this would be political suicide, especially in Spain, where the most “serious” newspapers in the country are capable of publishing headlines worthy of trench warfare propaganda. Therefore, recalling in that final dissenting vote what should have happened, yet was not politically viable, the Supreme Court opted for going overboard in the lawyers’ wiretapping case, impeccable from a media viewpoint, whether national or international. It is true that the consequences of the clumsiness and deviations of this judge have been more serious in that case than in the one we are concerned with here, but the type of «prevaricación» was also much more debatable. Well, anyway, just another example of the Spain we live in.

Supreme Court ruling in the “Garzón 3” (or Historic Memory) case

Continuamos la publicación de traducciones al inglés con ésta del post que comenta la sentencia que absuelve a  Garzón por su investigación de los crímenes del franquismo.

Supreme Court ruling in the “Garzón 3” (or Historic Memory) case

We shall finish off this series devoted to the successive cases brought against Judge Garzón with comments on this final ruling handed down on February 27th. This is perhaps the most interesting case of the three, from both a political and legal standpoint.

The ruling –which may be consulted here, albeit in Spanish– was accompanied by two individual opinions, one concurring (in agreement with the judgement, but not with its line of argument) and the other dissenting. As in the previous cases, it is essential to distinguish clearly between the background of this affair (in this case, crimes committed in the Franco era and the question of the shallow, unmarked graves that still exist) and the heart of the matter (whether or not Judge Garzón committed «prevaricación», i.e. “abuse of power by knowingly acting without jurisdiction”). Both questions are important and complex, certainly warranting not one, but many posts, which explains the length of this one. Before anything else, we´ll go over the proven facts to bring the reader up to speed.

In December 2006, several individuals and associations presented a lawsuit before the National Court in Madrid. Their complaint informed the Court of a series of disappearances and crimes committed during Spain’s Civil War and the post-war period, and declared not knowing the identities of the victims or where they were buried. They were therefore seeking due process to discover the truth and duly locate, identify and hand over the mortal remains in question. Judge Garzón, who received the case, did practically nothing with this case over the next two years. The interested parties formally complained about this inactivity before the CGPJ (General Council of the Judiciary) and as a result of this, in January 2008, the judge requested a report from the public prosecutor’s office regarding his jurisdictional authority. This report was negative based on the statute of limitations, the principle of non-retroactivity and Spain’s Amnesty Law of 1977. It was not until October of that year that the judge issued a further order, declaring himself competent to hear the case.  He cited the legal framework of Crimes against Humanity and put forward arguments to contest the “hurdles” put forward by the prosecutor. However, Garzón did anticipate losing such jurisdiction, once the death of those responsible had been certified. Indeed, the following month, with the corresponding death certificates in hand and before the prosecutor’s appeal was allowed by the Criminal Chamber of the National Court, the judge pronounced that criminal liability had lapsed due to the death of those people against whom the investigation was directed. Garzón passed the case on to those courts with territorial jurisdiction over the exhumations. Moreover, we must add two significant facts: the first is that, in December 1998, the judge had rejected the action brought against Santiago Carrillo (life-long Communist allegedly present at a massacre during the Civil War) and others, presented by an association of friends of the victims of Paracuellos (site of the massacre), on the grounds of the 1977 Amnesty Law. The second is that the so-called Historic Memory Law, which declares the administrative authorities to be competent with respect to exhumations, was passed in December 2007, almost one year before Judge Garzón issued the final order.

Starting with the background of the case, the first thing that should be pointed out is that it is hard to believe that now, thirty-five years after the Spanish Constitution was passed, we are still at this juncture. In an article of mine published by Javier Pradera, the much admired and sadly missed director of Claves, in October 2006 (“Recuperar la Memoria” — “Recovering Memory”), I referred to the case of the Volksbund association, a humanitarian organisation made up of volunteer youth from the countries occupied by the Nazis during the Second World War.The organisation is dedicated to cleaning and conserving the war cemeteries in Normandy where the buried fallen are… German. Something like that provokes envy, because we do not have a Memory here in Spain, we have many memories. And this is what has made it so difficult to do things that are not just worthy, but rather essential, as we still await a solution for those lying in many ditches around our country. Well, what is made crystal clear by reading this ruling, if there is anyone who did not know this before, is that the responsibility for building this Memory and satisfying the legitimate aspirations of the victims’ relatives is ours as a Nation and, therefore, corresponds to our Parliament. This is the institution which must furnish –as it started to do with the 2007 Law, albeit in a highly insufficient fashion– the means necessary to achieve this end. What there can be no doubt about is the fact that this is not the responsibility of our criminal justice system, which is there for other purposes, namely pursuing (living) offenders whose crimes have not lapsed and sending them to jail. It is not up to the legal system to undertake so-called “truth trials”, which may still be highly necessary in this country, but which call for another venue with other people in charge. Criminal proceedings are in no way the ideal way to perform this function, given that their goal is rather different. Judge Garzón was being tried precisely because he attempted to ignore this fact, with the accusation of «prevaricación» referring to the aforesaid two orders of October and November 2008.

Now, as we move on to the heart of the matter, it is necessary to repeat yet again that the crime of «prevaricación» comprises two elements, one objective (unfair decision, this being taken to mean a radical divergence from the applicable legislation) and another subjective element (doing so “knowingly”). As regards the objective element, the Supreme Court believes that when the judge declared himself competent in the first order in October, he was illegitimately skipping over four “hurdles” (as the judge himself calls them): the non-retroactivity principle governing criminal cases, an expired statute of limitations, the Amnesty Law and the absence (due to death) of any possible suspects. The order in November jumped over another hurdle, the exclusive competence of the Administration regarding exhumations. However, one of the individual opinions also refers to excess, Garzón overstepping the mark by declaring himself not qualified, due to the death of the suspects, given that this would correspond to the Chamber. We will not deal with all of these, as otherwise this post would be interminable. However, we will address the fundamental issue, namely whether considering these crimes to be crimes against humanity allows the first three hurdles (non-retroactivity, statute of limitations and amnesty) to be skipped.

The Supreme Court performed a detailed analysis of the subject (highly recommended reading for anyone interested in this fascinating question) and comes to the conclusion that Spanish Law is governed, as a cornerstone of the whole system, by the principle of legality, and its requirements of lex previa, lex certa, lex scripta and lex stricta. The classification of these incidents as crimes against humanity appears in a body of regulations that was not in force (that is, not incorporated into Spanish Law) at the time the incidents occurred, in breach of the fundamental requirement of lex previa. Using many examples and citing many cases, the Court proves that this is a principle generally accepted under International Criminal Law. Secondly, as they are ordinary offences, the crimes committed are clearly statute-barred, whatever the manner of calculating the time might be. Thirdly, the declaration that the statute of limitations is not applicable to crimes against humanity, according to the Treaties ratified by Spain, cannot be deemed to be retroactive, as these are regulations of a substantive criminal nature. Fourthly, the crimes were duly pardoned by Spain’s 1977 Amnesty Law. The Court defends its application to this case, not just because of the prevailing circumstances at the moment it was passed –wide-ranging national consensus, especially among the anti-Franco groups– but also because the inefficacy of this type of law, spawned by international legislation, cannot be of a retroactive nature (it would only be applicable to amnesty laws passed subsequently). In any case, it would require a new Law to be passed by Parliament authorising the same and so, evidently, an examining magistrate cannot take this upon himself. Finally, the judge must have been aware of the death of any possible guilty party, which would make it patently inadmissible to even initiate the investigative pre-trial stage.

It would thus appear that the requirement of the objective element has been resoundingly fulfilled, but the truth is that the majority vote, with a surprising change of tack (surprising in relation to the “Garzón 1” case), says otherwise, because it must be admitted that Garzón’s opinion was shared by a report from the Public Prosecutor’s office and, on a certain occasion, by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The Court likewise cites a certain doctrinal school of thought reflected in a resolution of the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights. However, in the end, it recognises that said doctrine always ends up requiring the principle of legality, even if it be in the attenuated form of international common law. In any case, all of this justifies the belief that the interpretation of the accused judge, while being erroneous, did not fall within the realms of «prevaricación», as it is not radically removed from a possible interpretation of the legislation applicable to the case.

Heavens above!… In the “Garzón 1″ case, there was even a ruling from the Constitutional Court which interpreted the famous Art. 51 of the Spanish General Penitentiary Law in the same way as the judge, apart from the fact that a literal interpretation in those terms was perfectly defensible. Nonetheless, the judge was found guilty, because the divergence from the applicable law was so radical that it practically drew in the subjective element (a judge could not fail to be aware of the fact). And now, following an impeccable theoretical class in International Criminal Law, backed up by reams of Spanish jurisprudence, the Supreme Court tells us that the existence of a report from the Public Prosecutor and from some Inter-American Commission along these lines means that the requirement of the objective element has not been fulfilled!

No wonder the two who added individual opinions rushed to lash out on this issue. The first one, the concurring opinion, feels the objective element of the charge has been sufficiently demonstrated. However, the magistrate points out that the subjective element has not been duly demonstrated during the proceedings; what’s more, he believes that the fact Garzón recused himself in the end is a sign of this lack of bad faith.

The second individual opinion, the dissenting one, is much more extensive and, with all due respect, battle-hardened. He goes all out and builds up a final line of argument which, had it been fully taken on board by the Chamber and the case were not this one, but rather that of the lawyers, would have earned him even more praise than the ruling of the “Garzón 1” case received. It is centred around the basic idea that, at all times, the judge had no intention of trying anyone, but simply that of satisfying the legitimate right of the relatives of the dead and missing to know the final resting place of their remains. Legitimate no doubt, but completely misguided, as to do so would entail a total infringement of current legislation. He thus builds up the case for the charge of «prevaricación», in both its objective and subjective elements, with fairly solid arguments, dismantling one by one the arguments of the majority and of the concurring opinions. Among other data he employs for this purpose, he cites Garzón’s rejection of the lawsuit against Santiago Carrillo –using the same arguments he now rejects– such as ignorance of the fact that the Historic Memory Law attributed this competence for authorising exhumations to the Administration. He ends by stating that the acquittal encourages precisely what pursuing the crime of «prevaricación» aims to combat: an interpretation beyond the limits of the law, in accordance with individual ideas and opinions –sometimes highly praiseworthy– of judges.

I fear the final conclusion of this series of posts has to be rather pessimistic. It portrays a judicial system –but also a society and news media– of a much lower quality than is to be expected in a modern democracy boasting the rule of law. These cases have demonstrated that Judge Garzón did not have much respect for his profession, at least not in the way that I understand respect: having a deep understanding of the purpose of his job in society, a clear understanding of the limits of its reach, and acting accordingly. He relegated his profession to second place on many occasions, sometimes to bathe in the limelight of fame, others for well-intended but deviant purposes, all in plain view and unimpeded by anyone. Until the Supreme Court decided that the time had come to put an end to this uncontrolled maverick (affording itself a competence it does not possess). If we had to choose the most suitable case for getting him kicked out, there can be no doubt that, from a technical standpoint, it was this Historic Memory case. But, obviously, this would be political suicide, especially in Spain, where the most “serious” newspapers in the country are capable of publishing headlines worthy of trench warfare propaganda. Therefore, recalling in that final dissenting vote what should have happened, yet was not politically viable, the Supreme Court opted for going overboard in the lawyers’ wiretapping case, impeccable from a media viewpoint, whether national or international. It is true that the consequences of the clumsiness and deviations of this judge have been more serious in that case than in the one we are concerned with here, but the type of «prevaricación» was also much more debatable. Well, anyway, just another example of the Spain we live in.

¿Qué democracia para el siglo XXI? Urnas “versus” barricadas

No se trata de resucitar el intenso debate que tuvimos en este Blog con ocasión de las sentadas del 15M, ni tampoco de defender la eficacia de las medidas que está tomando el gobierno del PP, y refrendando el Parlamento, aunque sí su legitimidad. Lo que queremos en estas líneas es (una vez más) reflexionar sobre lo que está pasando, sus causas y consecuencias. Antes, un recordatorio de algunos artículos de nuestra Constitución: Art. 6: “Los partidos políticos expresan el pluralismo político, concurren a la formación y manifestación de la voluntad popular y son instrumento fundamental para la participación política”; Art. 7: “Los sindicatos de trabajadores y las asociaciones empresariales contribuyen a la defensa y promoción de los intereses económicos y sociales que les son propios”; Art. 21.1: “Se reconoce el derecho de reunión pacífica y sin armas”; Art. 22.2: “Las asociaciones que persigan fines o utilicen medios tipificados como delitos son ilegales”; Art. 23.1: “Los ciudadanos tienen derecho a participar en los asuntos públicos, directamente o por medio de representantes, libremente elegidos en elecciones periódicas por sufragio universal”; Art. 29.1: “Todos los españoles tendrán el derecho de petición individual y colectiva, por escrito, en la forma y con los efectos que determine la ley”; Art. 87.3: “Una ley orgánica regulará las formas de ejercicio y requisitos de la iniciativa popular para la presentación de proposiciones de ley. En todo caso se exigirán no menos de 500.000 firmas acreditadas. No procederá dicha iniciativa en materias propias de ley orgánica, tributarias o de carácter internacional, ni en lo relativo a prerrogativa de gracia”; Art. 92.1: “Las decisiones políticas de especial trascendencia podrán ser sometidas a referéndum consultivo de todos los ciudadanos”.

Este es, en resumen, el modelo de democracia que diseña nuestra Constitución. Personalmente creo que no está mal y que los problemas surgen tal vez de los excesos o incumplimientos de estos artículos, pero no del modelo en sí. Ahora bien, si alguien tiene una propuesta mejor debería ponerla por escrito para que la conociéramos y debatiéramos entre todos. Todo es mejorable, sin perjuicio de que en ocasiones lo mejor (utópico) sea enemigo de lo bueno (real). Pero insisto, lo bueno de nuestra democracia es que favorece y permite el debate y que la Constitución no es ni debe ser letra cerrada. Por ejemplo, un nuevo artículo podría ser del tenor siguiente: “Sin perjuicio de las elecciones periódica y libremente celebradas, las decisiones legítimamente adoptadas tanto por el gobierno como el parlamento podrán ser modificadas o puestas en cuestión reiteradamente, incluso desde el día siguiente de celebradas las elecciones, por grupos controlados o incontrolados que tomen la calle de forma continuada y crecientemente agresiva. Los convocantes o impulsores de las manifestaciones no serán responsables, ni directa ni subsidiariamente, de los destrozos ocasionados en mobiliario o comercio”. Tal vez sea ésta propuesta el germen de la nueva democracia que se propone, pero yo personalmente no quiero vivir en ella.

Aunque quizás no se trate de una nueva forma de democracia sino de recetas en realidad bastante antiguas, si bien empleadas y diseñadas para otros contextos. En efecto, los siglos XIX y XX nos han dejado numerosas muestras de acciones callejeras de carácter violento, pero la mayoría (en efecto alguna excepción hubo como en mayo de 1968) estaban dirigidas contra regímenes dictatoriales y/o de ausencia de libertades. Lo que vemos estos días en varios países europeos, a los que al parecer se pretende sumar orgullosa España, es la lucha en la calle contra decisiones de sus parlamentos y gobiernos legítimos. La excusa o coartada ideológica es que en realidad se está luchando contra el diktat de los mercados, o aun mejor de la Sra. Merkel, convertida por muchos en la nueva Hitler del panorama europeo. Personalmente pienso que la Sra. Merkel (por cierto procedente de la antigua República Democrática Alemana) está lejos de haber deseado desempeñar el papel que le ha tocado jugar, aunque tal vez podría equivocarme. Si lo está haciendo probablemente es porque al otro lado del teléfono no había nadie. En todo caso, la Sra. Merkel no parece ser responsable directa de que dirigentes incapaces o irresponsables se hayan lanzado a una locura de gasto público (a veces concretadas incluso en prebendas personales o colectivas) que es lo que está poniendo en peligro los logros de un Estado de bienestar que todos presumían de defender. ¿Realmente puede decirse que Merkel o los mercados son los principales responsables de que se haya llegado a un déficit del 8,51%, que la deuda se haya doblado en apenas cuatro años o que haya más de cinco millones de parados? En todo caso, las manifestaciones (sorprendentemente) parecen ir dirigidas contra los que recortan y no contra los que han gastado sin control (causa de los recortes), algunos de los cuales por cierto tienen la gallardía de encabezar las mismas manifestaciones.

Pero es que además estas acciones callejeras parecen producir el efecto contrario al que persiguen. En efecto, si lo que realmente quieren es que no haya más recortes se supone que pretenderán que la economía mejore. Pues bien, no parece la mejor vía cercar un Congreso internacional sobre telefonía móvil, romper escaparates (8.000 millones en pérdidas de los negocios afectados, luego menos impuestos, más gente a la calle, etc…), obligar a incrementar el número de horas extra de la policía que debe vigilarles, o cercar la casa de una alcaldesa libremente elegida (¡bonita imagen de España como lugar para invertir!). En realidad, por esto mismo la democracia representativa es el menos malo de los modelos existentes, porque sustituye la acción impulsiva por la reflexión y el debate. Tal vez sea menos espectacular, pero a la larga es más productiva. Ello no lleva necesariamente a la pasividad de la ciudadanía entre elección y elección, pero sí a limitar sus medios (“el fin no justifica los medios”: primera lección de democracia). Por eso la sociedad civil debe fortalecerse, pero eso sí de forma civilizada, mediante foros, promoviendo el debate o presentando iniciativas legislativas populares, o directamente constituyéndose en partido político y concurriendo en las elecciones.

Hace algunos años, asociaciones de víctimas del terrorismo, el PP y UPYD lograron reunir en Madrid y en algunas otras capitales españolas más de dos millones de ciudadanos en contra de la negociación con ETA. No ocasionaron ningún destrozo ni ejercieron acto violento, se disolvieron pacíficamente. Además se manifestaban contra una cuestión que el PSOE no había incluido en su programa electoral con el que había ganado las elecciones, con lo que podía entenderse que no estaba legitimado por las urnas en este asunto. El gobierno de entonces dijo respetar el derecho de manifestación, pero seguidamente insistió que no pensaba hacerles ningún caso. Ningún sindicato, ninguna asociación estudiantil, ninguna ONG criticó al gobierno por tamaña osadía; estaba en su derecho. Esperemos que la “nueva democracia” no pretenda incluir también “la doble vara de medir” entre sus propuestas.

¿Qué democracia para el siglo XXI? Urnas “versus” barricadas

No se trata de resucitar el intenso debate que tuvimos en este Blog con ocasión de las sentadas del 15M, ni tampoco de defender la eficacia de las medidas que está tomando el gobierno del PP, y refrendando el Parlamento, aunque sí su legitimidad. Lo que queremos en estas líneas es (una vez más) reflexionar sobre lo que está pasando, sus causas y consecuencias. Antes, un recordatorio de algunos artículos de nuestra Constitución: Art. 6: “Los partidos políticos expresan el pluralismo político, concurren a la formación y manifestación de la voluntad popular y son instrumento fundamental para la participación política”; Art. 7: “Los sindicatos de trabajadores y las asociaciones empresariales contribuyen a la defensa y promoción de los intereses económicos y sociales que les son propios”; Art. 21.1: “Se reconoce el derecho de reunión pacífica y sin armas”; Art. 22.2: “Las asociaciones que persigan fines o utilicen medios tipificados como delitos son ilegales”; Art. 23.1: “Los ciudadanos tienen derecho a participar en los asuntos públicos, directamente o por medio de representantes, libremente elegidos en elecciones periódicas por sufragio universal”; Art. 29.1: “Todos los españoles tendrán el derecho de petición individual y colectiva, por escrito, en la forma y con los efectos que determine la ley”; Art. 87.3: “Una ley orgánica regulará las formas de ejercicio y requisitos de la iniciativa popular para la presentación de proposiciones de ley. En todo caso se exigirán no menos de 500.000 firmas acreditadas. No procederá dicha iniciativa en materias propias de ley orgánica, tributarias o de carácter internacional, ni en lo relativo a prerrogativa de gracia”; Art. 92.1: “Las decisiones políticas de especial trascendencia podrán ser sometidas a referéndum consultivo de todos los ciudadanos”.

Este es, en resumen, el modelo de democracia que diseña nuestra Constitución. Personalmente creo que no está mal y que los problemas surgen tal vez de los excesos o incumplimientos de estos artículos, pero no del modelo en sí. Ahora bien, si alguien tiene una propuesta mejor debería ponerla por escrito para que la conociéramos y debatiéramos entre todos. Todo es mejorable, sin perjuicio de que en ocasiones lo mejor (utópico) sea enemigo de lo bueno (real). Pero insisto, lo bueno de nuestra democracia es que favorece y permite el debate y que la Constitución no es ni debe ser letra cerrada. Por ejemplo, un nuevo artículo podría ser del tenor siguiente: “Sin perjuicio de las elecciones periódica y libremente celebradas, las decisiones legítimamente adoptadas tanto por el gobierno como el parlamento podrán ser modificadas o puestas en cuestión reiteradamente, incluso desde el día siguiente de celebradas las elecciones, por grupos controlados o incontrolados que tomen la calle de forma continuada y crecientemente agresiva. Los convocantes o impulsores de las manifestaciones no serán responsables, ni directa ni subsidiariamente, de los destrozos ocasionados en mobiliario o comercio”. Tal vez sea ésta propuesta el germen de la nueva democracia que se propone, pero yo personalmente no quiero vivir en ella.

Aunque quizás no se trate de una nueva forma de democracia sino de recetas en realidad bastante antiguas, si bien empleadas y diseñadas para otros contextos. En efecto, los siglos XIX y XX nos han dejado numerosas muestras de acciones callejeras de carácter violento, pero la mayoría (en efecto alguna excepción hubo como en mayo de 1968) estaban dirigidas contra regímenes dictatoriales y/o de ausencia de libertades. Lo que vemos estos días en varios países europeos, a los que al parecer se pretende sumar orgullosa España, es la lucha en la calle contra decisiones de sus parlamentos y gobiernos legítimos. La excusa o coartada ideológica es que en realidad se está luchando contra el diktat de los mercados, o aun mejor de la Sra. Merkel, convertida por muchos en la nueva Hitler del panorama europeo. Personalmente pienso que la Sra. Merkel (por cierto procedente de la antigua República Democrática Alemana) está lejos de haber deseado desempeñar el papel que le ha tocado jugar, aunque tal vez podría equivocarme. Si lo está haciendo probablemente es porque al otro lado del teléfono no había nadie. En todo caso, la Sra. Merkel no parece ser responsable directa de que dirigentes incapaces o irresponsables se hayan lanzado a una locura de gasto público (a veces concretadas incluso en prebendas personales o colectivas) que es lo que está poniendo en peligro los logros de un Estado de bienestar que todos presumían de defender. ¿Realmente puede decirse que Merkel o los mercados son los principales responsables de que se haya llegado a un déficit del 8,51%, que la deuda se haya doblado en apenas cuatro años o que haya más de cinco millones de parados? En todo caso, las manifestaciones (sorprendentemente) parecen ir dirigidas contra los que recortan y no contra los que han gastado sin control (causa de los recortes), algunos de los cuales por cierto tienen la gallardía de encabezar las mismas manifestaciones.

Pero es que además estas acciones callejeras parecen producir el efecto contrario al que persiguen. En efecto, si lo que realmente quieren es que no haya más recortes se supone que pretenderán que la economía mejore. Pues bien, no parece la mejor vía cercar un Congreso internacional sobre telefonía móvil, romper escaparates (8.000 millones en pérdidas de los negocios afectados, luego menos impuestos, más gente a la calle, etc…), obligar a incrementar el número de horas extra de la policía que debe vigilarles, o cercar la casa de una alcaldesa libremente elegida (¡bonita imagen de España como lugar para invertir!). En realidad, por esto mismo la democracia representativa es el menos malo de los modelos existentes, porque sustituye la acción impulsiva por la reflexión y el debate. Tal vez sea menos espectacular, pero a la larga es más productiva. Ello no lleva necesariamente a la pasividad de la ciudadanía entre elección y elección, pero sí a limitar sus medios (“el fin no justifica los medios”: primera lección de democracia). Por eso la sociedad civil debe fortalecerse, pero eso sí de forma civilizada, mediante foros, promoviendo el debate o presentando iniciativas legislativas populares, o directamente constituyéndose en partido político y concurriendo en las elecciones.

Hace algunos años, asociaciones de víctimas del terrorismo, el PP y UPYD lograron reunir en Madrid y en algunas otras capitales españolas más de dos millones de ciudadanos en contra de la negociación con ETA. No ocasionaron ningún destrozo ni ejercieron acto violento, se disolvieron pacíficamente. Además se manifestaban contra una cuestión que el PSOE no había incluido en su programa electoral con el que había ganado las elecciones, con lo que podía entenderse que no estaba legitimado por las urnas en este asunto. El gobierno de entonces dijo respetar el derecho de manifestación, pero seguidamente insistió que no pensaba hacerles ningún caso. Ningún sindicato, ninguna asociación estudiantil, ninguna ONG criticó al gobierno por tamaña osadía; estaba en su derecho. Esperemos que la “nueva democracia” no pretenda incluir también “la doble vara de medir” entre sus propuestas.