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Rafael Ribó: "It is incomprehensible to exclude from the trial the testimony of the institution in charge of guaranteeing rights and that it can provide objective data on the facts judged"

18/02/2019

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The institution has received dozens of complaints and has processed numerous files related to events that occurred on October 1st and 26th, facts that are at the core of the cause

Omitting the contributions of the Ombudsman may affect the right of defence of the parties that have requested his appearance

This matter will be brought into the attention of international human rights organizations and other European Ombudsmen

The Ombudsman, regarding the decision of the Supreme Court to exclude his testimony in the hearing of special cause 20907/2017, considers that it is incomprehensible, given his task of defence of rights and freedoms, by means of which he has received numerous complaints that could be provided as objective data. This may deprive the Court of its role of seeking the truth of the facts that focus the trial and the circumstances that surround them. In addition, he notes that omitting the contributions of the Ombudsman may affect the right of defence of the parties that have requested their appearance.

It should be recalled that the Catalan Ombudsman is the institution of Catalonia that, by statutory mandate, is in charge of the defence of fundamental rights and freedoms recognized in the Constitution, the Statute and international treaties. In this condition, and beyond the reports on rights and freedoms submitted during this period, the Catalan Ombudsman has received dozens of complaints and has processed numerous files related to events that occurred on October 1 and 26, facts that are in the core of the criminal case that is diluted to the Supreme Court. Likewise, the Ombudsman has been in direct contact with many of the circumstances that have surrounded the facts that are the object of the trial, and especially those that have affected the rights of people, which is why the exclusion of his testimony may mean depriving the Court of knowledge of facts relevant to the case.

With regard to the argument of the Supreme Court in the ruling of February 1st, 2019, the ombudsman, Rafael Ribó, shows that the direct testimony and before the Court of the facts indicated in his reports regarding the object of the trial, far from being excessive or expressing a subjective assessment, would have helped to clarify them. The aforementioned ruling rejects the appearance because “the reports submitted by the Ombudsman are available on the web, constitute a well-known fact and do not require additional explanations or evaluative reflections by its author”.

In the consideration of questions prior to the oral hearing, held on Thursday, February 14th, the president of the Second Chamber has once again rejected the testimony of the Catalan ombudsman. In the upcoming days, the Catalan ombudsman will bring this matter to the attention of international human rights organizations and other European Ombudsmen.

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