Monday, June 8, 2020

ERC calls for abolition of the military justice system in Spain

ERC pide eliminar la justicia militar para acabar con la “impunidad” en abusos sexualesThe ERC (Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya/Republican Left of Catalonia) political party, which favors independence for Catalonia, is taking a bill to Congress next week seeking to end the military justice system in Spain.

The bill, which will be defended on Thursday, seeks to eliminate military jurisdiction and to restrict it to situations of war, international armed conflict or states of siege. In all other situations the ordinary courts would have jurisdiction. It seeks to modify both the Law on the Competence and Organization of Military Jurisdiction and the Military Penal Code.

In its explanatory statement, the ERC claimed that the Military Justice system "has shown itself to be completely incapable of fulfilling several of the twenty principles established by the Report of the Commission on Human Rights of the United Nations on the administration of justice by military tribunals", among these the right to a competent, independent and impartial tribunal, the publicity of the judgment, the guarantee of the right to defense and the right to a fair and impartial trial, access to effective judicial protection or the presentation of a recourse before ordinary tribunals.

The ERC is focusing on the "lack of independence and impartiality" of the military justice system which lacks an appeals court and is aggravated by the fact that the judges are members of the military. For that reason, the military is "an anachronism in Spain and an anomaly in Europe." Germany, the ERC noted, abolished military jurisdiction in 1949 and France in 1982, and similarly it was abolished in Holland, Belgium and Norway. Consequently, Spain is 70 years "behind" on this issue, according to the ERC.

Furthermore, impunity in the military justice system "has resulted in the fact that in recent years many delinquents continue serving in the Armed Forces." Between January 2016 and December 2018 there were 90 complaints of sexual harassment and not one resulted in a conviction.

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