Monday, May 29, 2023
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Peru Erroteta

​Political crimes, beyond rebellion and betrayal


Politics, like property and money, sacred, enjoy a treatment of legal favour that only now is begging to exhibition cracks. Proof of this is becoming aware of corruption and the punishment it deserves, and the perception that politics is not everything goes. An example: the debate raised about the crimes attributed to the Catalonian nationalists, are due to the events that took place in Catalonia a year ago.

Puigdemont Junqueras

Human acts, all of them, always have consequences. They are not neutral or innocent, even if they were made unintentionally. They are measured by their effects and, in good faith, according to the same standards. However, the level is not impartial and immovable, rather quite the opposite. It varies, and considerably so, depending on the background, prevailing values, customs, interests, and so on and so on and so on. Today, thank God, religious beliefs are not judged in the same way as in the eighteenth century and, above all, we do not end up burnt at the stake because we are considered dissidents. This is, Justice is not absolute but relative, subject to the vagaries of life and, in some measure, adapted to the way things are. Something, which without a doubt, was and is the subject of much study by legal professionals.

Therefore, little wonder that not everyone and everything gets the same treatment.

Nothing clearer, without going any further, than the gulf of difference existing today when judging and condemning the attacks against property. Stealing, even if impelled by the imperative need to eat, can be taken into consideration to be an execrable criminal act. To do so on a large scale, in the shadow, with treachery, nevertheless can enjoy scandalous impunity. The first is elementary, visible, annoying... and consequently demands exemplary punishment. The second is not only imperceptible, but in general, is understandable, enjoys good press and may even be protected or consented to legally.


Enrichment has never been considered a crime, rather the other way around. Nonetheless, we know that enrichment does not appear from thin air like dew in spring. We know that their raison d'être has to be sought in crime. Explicit, implicit or corresponding. Moreover, we know that the size and speed of enrichment is proportional to the size and speed of theft. Of course all this takes place not mechanically, linearly, but is enormously sophisticated. Even with rules that regulate it. The crux of the matter is in the dividing lines. Why and until when something ceases to be legal? How and who establishes the sometimes thin lines that separate what is considered to be theft and that which is not? There is no doubt that many of the corrupt will have been surprised when they were accused of corruption.

For them but not them alone, to steal something belonging to others as everyone does is quite normal. Has it not always been this way?

In the end, behind this question beats a heart of understanding. We understand why and how we steal. And in this way the act ends up being sheltered, or at least not punished. We understand, then, that money enjoys privileges or, which is the same thing, that the system protects money. Additionally, what is related to money is interpreted with leniency. Money is above things, because that is what interests the status quo. In this state of affairs, when it comes to legislating, some thefts stop being considered thefts, others because of circumstances are less severe, and so on. There are no crimes that adequately apply to them. Therefore crime sneaks through this gap, for example, we have called "white-collar" crime that which is usually carried out by the rich and powerful.

It is worth all this lengthy disquisition to illustrate what happens to politics and power. Another area that also protects and privileges the system, to the point of understanding that it constitutes a separate sphere, something supra-human, almost magical. Tangible proof of this is the famous survey of thousands of people who exercise power and, simply, is that we cannot apply the law to us the same as any neighbour's son, or in the case of doing so, we have to go through varied and complex procedures.

Through the exercise of politics, ends up being considered something sui generis, above and apart from other human acts. 

A space where things can be carried out that in other areas would be considered bad or would constitute a crime. Understanding that what is done in politics, by mandate or by delegation of others, by the people, the voters, is exempt from responsibility. On the contrary, common sense appears to suggest that political acts or acts carried out under the protection of power should be more an compounding circumstance rather than an attenuating one. Consequently, the appraisal would have to be understood and practiced in reverse.


What happens, as Perogrullo would say, is that politics, politicians, those who exercise power in this context..., are not going to cut off their own nose to spite their face. They will not be so radically radical as to poke their finger in their own eye. To the point of lacking the definition of crimes fitting the acts carried out in the exercise of power and politics. Consequently, a sphere of impunity is formed, in which all or at least many things can be allowed. Moreover, as they themselves are part of politics, nothing happens to those who commit them.

It is more than this. As the we are dealing with political things, it is about managing things within the same sphere and, in the end, we end up agreeing things that, legitimately, should demand that justice intervenes. This, perhaps with the praiseworthy intention of avoiding greater evils, we say to throw it away as if nothing has happened. 

"Let the dead bury their dead," as the Gospel of St. Luke says. and let (political) life continue.

This is the case, quite clearly, of the Catalonian nationalist leaders who have driven a horse and cart through the law. They are considered political subjects and consequently, they demand the protection that, in their opinion, politics gives them, that they can do no wrong. As if politics was the great universal machine to wash away the mess. However, their actions have had and continue having consequences, sometimes very harmful and transcendental one, such as, for example, breaking the implicit agreement between Catalonians with different identities, encouraging the development of disintegrating forces, confronting people with people by breaking social, family ties, of friendship... Inciting, in a nutshell, hatred. Is all this trivial?, Without transcendence? Like a summer shower?

Are there legal mechanisms adapted to what was done in Catalonia? Do such laws have to exist or should we leave everything to political free will? Can those responsible for the acts carried out by the nationalist leaders be finally and finally judged? Are the crimes of rebellion and embezzlement the only ones that can be used to judge them? Is a legal framework not missing that provides more precise consideration of the acts that are carried out within the framework of the policy? How can European courts be asked to judge Puigdemont and their escaped counsellors, based on crimes that perhaps do not fit even in the same Spain?


"The European arrest warrant applies to theft of motor vehicles. However, when it comes to macro-political crimes, it does not work", says Professor Stefan Braum of the University of Luxembourg. "The reactions of the German judicial authorities and other European judicial authorities to the request for a Spanish arrest warrant, the demand for a democratic rule of law, present us that European criminal law is a reflection of the crisis of confidence between Member States in the European Union: a crisis resulting from the loss of common legal principles", he adds.

Beyond the crime of rebellion, wielded by Spanish judges responsible for the cause of "Proces" and "high treason", that which German judges appear to be handling, one which raises matters of great importance on the exercise of politics, in the context of which such enormous and serious acts can be carried out, that even are difficult to evaluate, even if their effects are perfectly perceptible.

Perhaps by way of conclusion, it would not be a bad thing to consider that, in any case, political crimes could be judged by the political corpus, by society. On all of them or only by those who feel aggrieved? A difficult frame of reference. However, why for example, should we not have a jury in which people, chosen at random or representing the social feeling in some way, judge the accused and issue symbolic sentences, such as having to ask for forgiveness every day of their lives? Which, similar to what theoretically the popular courts should have done, now anathematized and unmentionable. Would Puigdemont, Junqueras and company dare to respond plainly and directly in front of television cameras to everything that the public would like to ask them? Could this contribute to them and their followers becoming aware of the barbarities that they have perpetrated and, consequently, to staunch some of the raw wounds that they have opened in the social fabric?



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