The due process of law is not being upheld

Carmen Gomez

I have said on more than one occasion, how fortunate we are in Gibraltar to have amongst us, those who through their expertise in law have been able to fight our corner successfully in the past, as happened on a couple of occasions. The truth is that recently I read someone had rightly made a complaint on social media, re matters to do with Spain and the committee of 24, adding that “Gibraltar has never won a case against Spain. I would like to say that he has room for optimism, because as it happens we did, back in 2016. 

If you recall, the GFA had been battling for years; never once failing to put in their bid for Gibraltar’s membership to FIFA and eventually their persistence paid off. This is why the Government of Gibraltar will continue to make their presence felt before the Committee of 24; because one day the stars will be aligned for us, and something will happen to change the course of action so far taken by them.


But going back to the above particular challenge; the main reason for the rejection of our continuous membership request, was that of Spain’s insistence that the territory was a disputed status; plus their threat of withdrawal from the Championship, which was used in order to block Gibraltar’s accession. But then, due to various circumstances, like the fact that La Liga had been losing its competitiveness since 2013, and Spain was suffering from an economic crisis, its input became less influential. As a result, its strategy of withdrawal threat from the Championship was no longer credible.

Having lost its influence on UEFA decision, together with Gibraltar’s litigation strategy, persistence won the day. In 2016 in a landmark ruling, Sports highest international tribunal together with the efforts of Michael Llamas QC and others secured the CAS ruling. In said decision, a panel of experienced arbitrators confirmed that there was “no legitimate sovereignty dispute over the Rock” nor was there many pending legal dispute as a matter of public international law.

I know you all remember this, but it must not be allowed to rest in the annuls of history, because it’s important that we remind ourselves that it was the first time that an International Tribunal, had declared a position on the Gibraltar question. Michael Llamas said at the time that said judgement was far-reaching and ground breaking and would have wider long-term legal implications for Gibraltar internationally. So my question now is, why has this not happened?

Why are we still allowing Spain to pretend that this ruling never took place and furthermore continue to influence others like the EU, to collude in decisions against us, based on an untruth? We are surrounded by lawyers of very high calibre in Gibraltar, and we can’t possibly pretend to leave all the legal wrangling to the responsibility of only the same few. What is stopping the legal profession from investigating and pursuing matters which concern us greatly and which should have been cleared up by now?

On the question of the “Single Sky,” Dr Joseph Garcia wrote at the time, that the Spanish campaign to exclude Gibraltar, was illegal on the grounds that Gibraltar, a British overseas territory, had been part of the EU aviation measures under the treaties of the UK act of accession. Why has this not been followed up? In the same way as describing Gibraltar as a “colony” is a misuse of EU law. Surely if something is illegal, or there is a misuse of law, it cannot be upheld; and if it is, then why is it not being contested?

Remember again when Spain tricked the EU Commission into designating a site of community importance which overlapped with a site already designated to the UK in BGTW‘s? Well, you may recall that the substance of the case was put to the European court by Gibraltar and the UK, to be heard. Although at the time the European court of justice ruled against, it stressed that the ruling was merely on the technical issue of ability to take the case forward, it did not however decide the merits of the case. So it was possible to pursue this; and I ask, did this happen? Why are we allowing the law to be sidestepped or blatantly ignored in such a fashion? If the answer is that nothing can be done because we are amongst “cowboys,” or as Sir Winston Churchill put it “Gangsters,” then will someone please be honest and say the unsay-able and at least we then know where we stand.

Change for same?

Some ask if everything has to change for things to remain the same. I say we don’t want things to remain the same. We don’t want to have in the future, to deal with an EU who looks at us now through different eyes thanks to Spain. We don’t want to have to contend with a country that believes it can rue our day at any given moment; and we don’t want to have to deal with a UK family who will not be open with us on so many matters which need clarification.

Above all we need to be vindicated. We need for wrongs to be righted and the law to be upheld. We have to move forward now. We need to clear the slate; but we cannot do that if our matters concerning us are not being honestly and correctly attended to. The law is there to protect, and it must be properly interpreted and applied in our case.

We know that Spain’s interpretation of the law is a world apart from that of English law, but matters concerning us surely are in the remit of International Law. When the due process of law is not being upheld, or manipulated, it means that our freedoms are being curbed. We deserve better!