The new Attorney General of the State, Álvaro García Ortiz, has not been able to attend the Supreme Court this Wednesday in the opening of the judicial year for testing positive for covid. It has been the deputy prosecutor of the Supreme Court, María Ángeles Sánchez Conde, who has read the speech prepared by García Ortiz and who presents an x-ray of the memory of the State Attorney General’s Office (FGE) from 2021.
In his speech, Álvaro García, who took office two days ago, has avoided any insinuation with political overtones. He has not even referred to the blockade in the renewal of the CGPJ. He has chosen to invoke the spirit of “collectiveness” of the Prosecutor’s Office, with words of thanks to the 2,613 Spanish prosecutors.
García has stated that the work of all the members of the Prosecutor’s Office “at the service of the citizenry” is “our strength and our capital. the Public Prosecutor’s Office can only be understood as a collectivity. Only by interpreting it as a team do we reach our highest levels of efficiency and public utility”.
A few words, read by the lieutenant prosecutor, María Ángeles Sánchez Conde, which are situated in the context of the open schism in the Prosecutor’s Office during the mandate of Dolores Delgado, who met with the frontal opposition of a good part of the prosecutor’s career, among others things for his relations with Commissioner Villarejo and his behavior in the ‘Stampa case’, regarding the alleged reprisals against the prosecutor who investigated police corruption related to said Commissioner.
But in his inaugural speech of the judicial year Álvaro García has wanted to distance himself from any past controversy, although his first words have been dedicated precisely to Dolores Delgado, who appointed him head of the Technical Secretariat of the State Attorney General’s Office, making him his right hand. Thus, she has referred to the “solid foundations” built by her in the State Attorney General’s Office (FGE) “from which to continue building the Attorney General’s Office that we all want and that society demands of us.”
The report of the 2021 Prosecutor’s Office presented this Wednesday was really carried out by the former attorney general, who resigned from the position last July due to health problems. Perhaps with a more concise style – and even warm -, the new attorney general has focused on the victims as the axis of his next administration: “The victims have to be our priority: they must be protected and defended.”
“Last year we drew attention to the violation of the human rights of women and girls in Afghanistan. Today we have to deplore a war in Europe, the one unleashed by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which once again reveals the need to remain firm in the commitment to defend human rights”, stated in the speech.
Special mention to the female victims
The exhibition on the memory of the FGE has started remembering the victims of the sexist violencewhich ended last year with 50 women murdered, three more than in 2020. The lieutenant prosecutor has stressed that “only 11 had previously filed a complaint. Gender-based violence left 31 orphaned girls and boys. Four minors were killed by their They are not figures, they are not statistics, they are human lives cut short by this cruel and atrocious violence. They are women, they are families, they are women, boys and girls. For us, the most important.”
He has defended the importance that the victims do not have the need to testify again in court to avoid re-victimization, with the implementation of the pre-constituted test, something that the FGE is already working on.
In his speech, the attorney general has appealed to the gender perspective. “From the State Attorney General’s Office, I intend to promote the gender approach, promote institutional relations and always listen to organized civil society, women’s and victims’ associations, while collaborating in prevention, training and social awareness. It is absolutely essential to abound in training in gender perspective
and bring this, transversally, to all areas and jurisdictions”.
He has highlighted that 76% of sexist murders in 2021 occurred
outside the provincial capitals, “which once again highlights the need to
that all victims can have access to remedies in conditions of
equality, whatever their place of residence”.
Among the promises he made, he dedicated a special mention to human trafficking: “I will promote the participation of work teams to achieve a comprehensive law against trafficking in human beings”.
The report of the Prosecutor’s Office provides worrying data in this regard: during the year 2021, the procedures opened for the crime of trafficking increased by one
37.5%. 67.27% referred to trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, detecting 277 victims, of which 98.55% were women or girls. treats her
labor is next in statistical importance with 16.36% of the procedures.
“The Prosecutor’s Office has its sights set on the migration crisis derived from
the war conflicts, natural disasters and the climate crisisa crisis that is already generating a growing flow of people affected by hardship
economy, death and famine towards richer countries that offer better
chances of subsistence,” the attorney general said.
Concern about hate crimes
Another concern that has been expressed in Álvaro García’s speech is the proliferation of hate crimes and discrimination. “Crimes that not only attack the individual legal rights of people and their own dignity, but also call into question the constitutional principles and values and our democratic model of peaceful coexistence.”
He specifically referred to the “climate of hostility towards certain groups”. “The accumulated experience allows verifying that the
word precedes action, to the execution of violent actions. Versus
For this, society demands a firm criminal response, as well as an effective protection and reparation for the victims”.
In 2021, the Hate crime proceedings increased by 27.19%as revealed by the Prosecutor’s Office, the most common discriminatory reasons being racism and xenophobia, and sexual and gender orientation and identity, in second place.
It is increasing the cybercrime. The statistics collected in the report give a good account of this, the prosecutor has said, and which reflect an increase of 257% since 2017, 40.47% in the last year.
In this sense, he has indicated that “from the Prosecutor’s Office we again warn of the increase in criminal actions through ICTs against very personal legal assets, which have increased by 34.5%. This is particularly worrying when we talk about crimes against the sexual freedom and indemnity of minorswith an increase of almost 10% compared to the previous year”.
The attorney general has not forgotten the victims of the occupational accidents and of the road safety, warning that the “excessive time pending in the proceedings only increases the risk of secondary victimization and reminds of the need for victims to have adequate psychological, social and economic support”.
Strengthen environmental protection
Álvaro García was the prosecutor of the ‘Prestige case, the biggest environmental catastrophe in European waters due to the sinking of an oil tanker off the Galician coast. He is also one of the Prosecutor’s Office’s foremost experts on forest fires. This Wednesday he wanted to make a special mention of environmental crimes. “The reality of climate change and the environmental emergency must lead us as a society to deep reflection on the care and protection of our environment. For me it is a life commitment that I also intend to transfer to the State Attorney General’s Office, reinforcing the protection of the environment, from the prevention and criminal repression of criminal behavior that threatens it.
Regarding crime, the Attorney General has stressed that the investigations initiated by the Prosecutor’s Office in 2021 have increased by more than 50%. Another important fact: 55% of the accusations made by the Public Ministry [un 15% más que en 2020] they were referring to crimes against sexual freedom.
If Álvaro García began his speech with a nod to the tax career, he wanted to end with another, referring to the reform of the Criminal Procedure Law (LeCrim), which will bring with it a new model of criminal proceedings, with the investigation of cases by prosecutors. He has referred to the draft that he himself, at the Technical Secretariat of the FGE, prepared on this matter in 2021.
“It was an enormous, serious, rigorous and also collaborative work, since the participation of the entire fiscal career was encouraged. This resulted in a text approved unanimously by the Fiscal Council on July 7 of last year. These works They have made us aware that the Public Prosecutor has the obligation to demonstrate, as it has done for more than two decades in the jurisdiction of Minors, that we are fully capable of assuming the investigation criminal in the best conditions.”
Finally, García referred to the entry into force of the new Regulations of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, “a milestone for the institution that, after 40 years of validity of its Organic Statute, finally has a regulatory development that replaces the pre-constitutional norm of 1969”.
Despite the new regulations, the new attorney general asks for more quotas of autonomy for the institution to strengthen “our capacity for self-management”: “We will not give up proposing a statutory reform conferring on the Public Prosecutor a enhanced autonomy status at all levels: budgetary, organisational, regulatory and training. This is the path along which both GRECO [Grupo de Estados contra la Corrupción, del Consejo de Europa] as the recently published report of the European Commission on the Rule of Law in Europe recommends us to continue advancing”.